Unite Yorkshire ambulances staff strike 'reckless'

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Ambulance staff planning to take industrial action over new shift patterns have been accused of being "reckless" of patient care.

Members of the Unite union at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust plan to walk out for 24 hours from midnight.

The trust said the action would affect services despite involving only 8% of its staff.

Unite said proposed shift patterns could see staff working for up to 10 hours without a meal break

Terry Cunliffe from Unite said: "The latest erosion in their employment conditions is the demand to work elongated shifts which could mean them working more than 10 hours on the trot before managers deign to give them a meal break.

"This could affect their ability to do their jobs - helping people in distress."

'Misleading claims'

The union plans a further four-hour strike on Monday which will start from 15.00 GMT.

In a statement, the trust accused the strikers of being "reckless and neglectful of patient care".

Chief executive David Whiting said the action would place many of the trust's staff in a "difficult situation" and he said the union had rejected the opportunity for further talks.

He added: "We continue to refute the misleading and factually incorrect claims being made by Unite the union around patient safety.

"Industrial action in this form is certainly not in the best interests of patients."

He said the trust would be working to minimise disruption to its services during the strike.

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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