GMB members vote overwhelmingly to ballot for action over cuts and working conditions

Scottish Ambulance ServiceGMB members in the Scottish Ambulance Service have moved closer to strike action in their campaign to improve their working conditions.

They voted overwhelmingly, in a consultative ballot, for the union to move to an official ballot for strike action if excessive demands on the service and staff are not tackled.

The union says action is needed to deal with the on-going and systematic abuse of staff in the service due to shortage of capacity that is also impacting on the service delivered to the people of Scotland.

GMB Scotland senior officer Mick Conroy said: “We intend to notify the senior management, directors and government ministers of the result of this ballot.  We will continue to work in partnership to put pressure on the Scottish government to increase the funding to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“In order for the service to move towards our 2020 vision we need a large investment from Scottish Government to increase our staff, and ensure we have enough resources across all grades to prevent the current impact on patients and on terms and conditions and work/life balance continuing.

“If we cannot resolve these ongoing issues within a reasonable timescale we now have authority from members to commence a ballot for action that may include withdrawal of labour working under the laid down legal procedures for strike action taking into consideration current legislation.”

Gary Coll, GMB Scottish Ambulance Service Branch Convenor, added “We believe strongly the time has come to protest about the neglect of patients and the ongoing and systematic abuse of staff.

“The Scottish Ambulance Service has many dedicated professional members of staff who care deeply about the public we aim to serve.  The job we signed up for has changed dramatically over the years and all grades of staff have come under increasing pressure each and every year and unfortunately the pressure and demands of the general Public now far exceeds the demands and needs of you the employee.

“Somewhere along the line management and Scottish government have forgotten that the employees have family commitments, relationships and social needs, that at this time have come under increasing pressure due to overwhelming volumes of work. The Service has ignored members concerns whilst servicing the increasing demands of the general public, NHS 24, GP surgeries and hospital transfers.

“We have listened to members vocal and written complaints increasingly over the last three years and despite our best attempts via Partnership meetings at local and national levels we are struggling to deliver the changes members need and demand to ensure an appropriate work life balance whilst serving the public of this country.

“We pride ourselves with protecting the interests of our members while at the same time realising we have a duty of care and responsibility to the public we are employed to serve. However, there has to be a balance between the overwhelming needs of the public and the family values and needs of our members and their families. We need to get that balance right for the benefit of the public and ambulance staff.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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