Ambulance Service staff to go on strike:

Ambulance Service staff belonging to the Unite union have said they are to go on strike on 6 May.

About 150 staff out of the ambulance service’s total workforce of 1,100 are members of Unite.

Most of those who are to go on strike work in the control room. The BBC understands the roles will be filled by management during the 24-hour stoppage.

Public sector transport workers who are members of Unite are taking part in a 24-hour strike on the same day.

The transport strike will affect Ulsterbus, Metro and Northern Ireland Railways services.

On Thursday, GMB members of Translink announced they would be taking part in “two weeks of discontinuous industrial action short of strike”, beginning on 1 May.

Pay claim

Other health unions are taking part in strike action in the coming weeks.

Unite officer with responsibility for health, Kevin McAdam, said the union had agreed a programme of strike action in “pursuit of an outstanding pay claim for 2014-15, the lack of an offer for the current year and proposed health service closures”.

The Society of Radiographers will walk out for four hours on 30 April – the same day that midwives will hold a 4-hour strike.

Unison and GMB members  began a work to rule from Monday 27 April.

Staff belonging to health unions took part in a one-day public sector strike in March

Ambulance crews will began an overtime ban on the same day at 08:00 BST.

That will end at 20:00 BST on Sunday 10 May.

GMB, a smaller union, will also begin an overtime ban on Monday that will last for two weeks.

The union has given notice to the five trusts in Northern Ireland that its members would be taking part in action short of strike from Monday.

Unison workers will take part in a work to rule, but at this stage the union is not planning to participate in the 24-hour strike.

Last month, public transport workers took part in a one-day strike involving education, administration and health service staff.

‘Pressure’

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Health said it respected the right of trade union members to take part in industrial action but was disappointed “that this further industrial action is being taken by Northern Ireland Ambulance Service members”.

“In Northern Ireland, despite our offers to negotiate, local trade unions have not been prepared to talk to us about options for a 2015/16 pay deal, dissatisfied with what their English colleagues accepted in 2014/15,” a spokesperson for the department said.

“The department wrote earlier this year inviting unions to begin discussions, and also sought to engage with unions at the start of March. A further invitation has been issued to seek to commence discussions as soon as trade union availability permits.

“There is ongoing pressure within our health and social care system and there is a very difficult financial year ahead with difficult decisions required regarding the provision of direct health and social care services.

“The minister remains committed to putting patients first and departmental officials will work with the HSCB and trusts to ensure a safe service is provided during any planned stoppages.”

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