Ambulance strike looming for St Albans district?
PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 May 2016
Frontline ambulance staff serving the St Albans district are to be balloted over possible strike action.
The district comes under the East of England Ambulance Service whose members are being balloted by union Unison over managers’ failure to tackle the problem of excessive working hours and lack of sufficient breaks.
In December 2015, 2,995 shifts finished over an hour later than planned and in January 2016 that rose to 3,639 shifts. They are meant to be no longer than 12 hours in length but regularly overrun so that staff can find themselves working 13-18 hour days or nights.
In addition, frontline staff are entitled to a 45-minute meal break during their shift but they regularly only end up with 30 minutes.
Unison branch secretary Fraer Stevenson commented: “After a year of broken promises, our crews are still faced with unacceptable working conditions.”
He said: “Theirs is already a stressful job, being made almost unbearable by the excessive working hours staff regularly find themselves working. No wonder so many have already left the service and that many more say they want to quit.
“It’s heart breaking to see front line staff working under such pressure and for the trust’s board to be given repeated evidence of this – but fail to act. We have little choice now after over a year of many meetings and no meaningful action, than to consider industrial action.”
An indicative ballot was held earlier this year but six weeks of further negotiations have not resulted in any meaningful agreements with the ambulance trust.