Unite Yorkshire ambulance workers vote to strike

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Ambulance staff in Yorkshire have voted to take strike action over new shift patterns.

The union Unite said its members would walk out for 24 hours on 1 February, and for four hours on 3 February.

Terry Cunliffe from Unite, which represents about 375 of the trust's 4,600 employees, said the changes would lead to an "overtired workforce".

Ian Brandwood, of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said the strike showed Unite's "thoughtless conduct".

Mr Cunliffe said the changed shifts could see paramedics going more than 10 hours without a meal break.

But ambulance service managers have previously claimed the new rotas would improve the allocation of rest breaks and reduce shift over-runs.

'Not family friendly'

Mr Cunliffe said: "Our members are taking action as they are very concerned about the scale of these changes and how they will impact on patient safety in Yorkshire.

"The shift patterns are not family friendly and will lead to an overtired workforce."

Mr Brandwood, an executive director at the trust, said: "There is no mandate for strike action with only 40% turnout from Unite members."

He said the trust would minimise disruption to its services and had contingency plans in place.

Last February, the trust said it had decided to cease to voluntarily recognise Unite for the purposes of collective bargaining due to a "difficult and disappointing" working relationship.

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