A planned all-out strike by members of the National Ambulance Service was suspended late last night. The planned strike was due to commence on Wednesday next.
SIPTU representatives secured a formal commitment from the Department of Health, management at the Health Service Executive (HSE) and National Ambulance Service (NAS) at talks this evening at the Workplace Relations Commission, for substantial new investment in the service,
Speaking last night, SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The commitments secured this evening contain concrete guarantees on staffing levels, compensation for loss of earnings and the establishment of a working group to deal with other issues relating to the NAS.
“Specifically, our members have secured commitments for the recruitment of 150 new emergency technicians for deployment into the Intermediate Care Service over a two-year period. There is also a commitment to implement the recommendations outlined in the NAS capacity review. This confirms that 461 paramedics will be recruited on a phased basis over a five-year period which will entail recruiting in excess of 100 paramedics each year on an incremental basis.
“Other issues resolved include securing compensation for loss of earnings for our members under the terms of the public service agreement. This is to be paid at the next available payroll.”
Inset: (SIPTU’s Paul Bell. Illustration: Emergency Times)
He added: “These negotiations have been protracted and at times difficult for our members. For them to even contemplate taking all-out strike action shows the seriousness of the issues that were in dispute. However, they remained united and have succeeded in securing commitments for the resources necessary to provide the standard of ambulance service the public deserve.
“Our members are aware that today marks merely the beginning of the journey towards securing the future of a public ambulance service that is fully funded, fit for purpose and enjoys public confidence. However, the commitments provided by the Government and the relevant state agencies this evening indicate that they are willing to play an active role in supporting ambulance professionals in developing a world class service.”
YouTube statement by Paul Bell