England

Great Western Ambulance staff vote for action

Great Western Ambulance Service staff in Bristol, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and parts of Somerset have voted in favour of industrial action.

Unison held the ballot after a row over pay and conditions with their employer, Great Western Ambulance NHS Trust.

The union claimed some workers could face pay cuts and non-peak cover in areas such as Bristol, Gloucester, Bath and Trowbridge could be "slimmed down".

No resolution was reached at a meeting between Unison and the trust earlier.

'Saving lives'

Talks between the union and the NHS Trust took place in Bristol on Friday afternoon.

Simon Newell, Unison's South West regional organiser, said: "Meaningful discussions have taken place and some progress has been made, but we're still a long way off resolving our differences, so discussions will have to continue into next week."

David Whiting, chief executive of Great Western Ambulance Service, said earlier: "The changes we are making are about saving more lives.

"We are taking on additional frontline staff and looking to make our existing staff more effective by increasing their availability at the busiest times - particularly evenings and weekends.

"This is not about job cuts and it is not about cutting salaries.

"We believe that the majority of staff understand the need for these changes, indeed less than a quarter of our A&E road crews voted for strike."

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