Ambulance workers in South Yorkshire call off strike action

Ambulance staff in South Yorkshire were set to strike.
Ambulance staff in South Yorkshire were set to strike.

Ambulance workers in South Yorkshire have called off a planned strike over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Members of the trade union Unison, which has around 1,500 members at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, were set to strike for six hours from 3pm to 9pm on Sunday.

They were also due to work to rule continuously from just after midnight on Thursday. The industrial action was part of a row over working practices which Unison said left staff ‘feeling undervalued and underpaid’.

But the strike was cancelled this afternoon following talks between union leaders and trust bosses.

Bryn Webster, Unison branch secretary, said: “We didn’t want to take action because it meant patients could have come to harm.

“Fortunately we had such a good result that the trust agreed to sit down and talk to us, and revert to the agreed policies and procedures.”

The union said staff were waiting too long for meal breaks, faced excessive end-of-shift overtime, and that bosses were not sticking to a previously agreed ‘workforce plan’.

Members voted 82 per cent in favour of a strike earlier this month.

Ian Brandwood, executive director of people and engagement for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We do not feel that industrial action will help us respond to the challenges we face and following extensive discussions with Unison we are pleased to report that they have agreed to withdraw their planned action.”

Mr Brandwood added: “We remain committed to continuing to work with Unison to address some of the concerns raised and our focus, as always, remains on the well-being of our staff while continuing to provide high levels of patient care.”

Meanwhile, members of the Unite union have also been involved in a long-running dispute with the trust, and sparked controversy for striking over the Tour de France weekend in July.