Scottish ambulance crews to vote on strike action

Ambulance workers may strike over rising levels of stress, missed meal breaks, extra hours and staffing problems. Picture: Toby Williams
Ambulance workers may strike over rising levels of stress, missed meal breaks, extra hours and staffing problems. Picture: Toby Williams
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AMBULANCE workers in Scotland are to vote on strike action amid complaints of “excessive demands” on staff.

The move comes the day after it was revealed firefighters will decide next week whether to take industrial action over con-troversial cuts to the services.

The GMB union said its ambulance members had backed an industrial action ballot over a series of issues including rising levels of stress, complaints that meal breaks are being missed, extra hours and staffing. The GMB represents around 1,200 staff, including paramedics, control room staff and care assistants.

The union held a consultative ballot, which showed overwhelming support for an official strike vote.

GMB official Mick Conroy said: “We will continue to put pressure on the Scottish Government to increase the funding to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“In order for the service to move towards our 2020 vision we need a large investment from the Scottish Government to increase staff, and ensure we have enough resources across all grades to prevent the current impact on patients and on work/life balance continuing.

“If we cannot resolve these issues within a reasonable timescale we now have authority from members to commence a ballot for action that may include withdrawal of labour, working under the laid-down legal procedures for strike action.” Gary Coll, the union’s Scottish Ambulance Service branch convenor, added: “The time has come to protest about the neglect of patients and the systematic abuse of staff. The job we signed up for has changed dramatically over the years and all grades of staff have come under increasing pressure and unfortunately the demands of the general public now far exceed the needs of the employees.

“Management and Scottish Government have forgotten that the employees have family commitments, relationships and social needs, that at this time have come under increasing pressure due to overwhelming volumes of work.”