YORKSHIRE ambulance workers have voted 82 per cent for strike action and 90 per cent for other action in defence of their working conditions and patient safety.
Public service union Unison is in dispute with Yorkshire NHS Ambulance Trust over changes being forced through by managers who are facing £46 million in budget cuts.
Unison says changes to shifts and workloads are leaving ambulance staff “exhausted and stressed due to ever-increasing demand, late meal breaks, excessive end of shift overtime and lack of support.”
The union say it had agreed a five-year plan with the Trust — which are now unilaterally ignoring it.
Unison regional secretary for Yorkshire and the Humber John Cafferty told the Star: “The vote is an overwhelming result. It is a signal of how angry and frustrated our members are, and that has been caused by the employer deviating from our agreement.
“We have sat down and negotiated with them and agreed a five-year plan.
"Our members voted on it and agreed it, but the employer unilaterally deviated from the agreement and started to introduce other things.
“The employer needs to get back to negotiating the plan that was agreed.”
The union said its members “have given the branch committee a clear and resounding mandate that they are willing to take industrial action due to the Trust not adhering to recently agreed policies and procedures.”
Unison is the largest union for ambulance workers in Yorkshire with more than 1,300 members.
Unite, with nearly 400 members at Yorkshire ambulance service, has already been involved in sporadic strike action. It opposed the Trust’s unilateral changes and was de-recognised in February 2013.
The Trust has also been undermining Unite’s strike actions by using private firms. Unite says the Trust — and others elsewhere — has also been increasingly using private ambulance services to plug gaps in services left by cuts, including to cover shifts at Christmas.
Unison’s Yorkshire ambulance branch committee was yesterday considering the ballot result.
The Trust was formed through the merging of independently-operated ambulance services in North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and Humberside.