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Tipperary Ambulance Strike Looms

Ambulance-ThurlesNorth Tipperary Ambulance workers have stated their intention to go on strike from midnight to-night.
Stations likely to be affected will include Nenagh, Thurles and Roscrea.
This action is threatened in response to management imposing new work rosters, which their union the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union, (SIPTU)  claim is in breach of an agreement which dates back to 1993.

This dispute blew up in recent weeks and follows on from the retirement of a nurse who worked as a second crew member with the ambulance service at the Roscrea station. Following this retirement, senior officials at the Health Service Executive (HSE) informed staff of their intentions to make certain changes to this ‘on-call service’.

These changes if implemented would mean that instead of having a paramedic in the station ready to respond to calls, two paramedics would be expected to respond to emergency calls from their homes.  Ambulance staffs are up in arms over this decision claiming that the journey would add an extra 25 minutes to normal emergency response times and have called on their Union SIPTU to discuss these proposed changes with the HSE.

A SIPTU spokesperson stated:

“The workers are being asked to depart from established practice and to implement a roster which is detrimental to the needs of this vital service. Management have announced plans to impose the new work rosters unilaterally rather than address issues using normal industrial relations procedures”.

The HSE has stated:

“We are aware of an industrial relations issue and negotiations are ongoing”.

Portroe native and Labour MEP Alan Kelly has criticised the HSE for trying to impose an unsafe working system which he feels could undermines the safety concerns of local patients.

Local ambulance drivers refused to be drawn on the issues but confirmed that they will still continue to operate an emergency service in North Tipperary throughout this strike period.

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