Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

999 Crews Vote for Pay Action

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

999 Crews Vote for Pay Action

Article excerpt

Byline: By Liz Hands

Ambulance crews are threatening to disrupt major sporting events in the North-East after voting for industrial action over pay.

Paramedics will refuse to cover events such as football matches or race meetings from Monday.

They are also imposing an overtime ban and will not provide "dynamic cover" ( where crews sit at strategic roadside locations to make sure the whole region is covered.

It was also announced last night that 1.5 million local authority workers ( including teachers and firefighters ( are being balloted for strike action in a row over pensions.

This includes 100,000 in the North-East and could be the biggest industrial dispute since the 1926 General Strike.

Ambulance Service bosses say a ban on dynamic cover would have a "detrimental effect" on patient care but claimed it could cover the three big sports events in the first week of action ( Newcastle United's

match against Portsmouth, Sunderland's match against Middlesbrough, and a race meeting at Newcastle.

The action is due to run until a resolution is reached in the long-running dispute over meal breaks.

A North-East Ambulance NHS Trust spokesman said it had enough cover to ensure the events went ahead.

But Unison branch secretary Joel Byers said: "We'd be worried people they are putting in place for events are not properly qualified."

Sunderland are at home to Middlesbrough next Tuesday. That is followed by a meeting at Gosforth Park, with Newcastle's home match on February 4.

Unison say more than 80% of its members at North-East Ambulance Trust voted for action.

Union bosses say they were still hopeful talks taking place this week could stop the action going ahead.

The dispute started when paramedics were told to take unpaid and undisturbed meal breaks in June last year. …

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