Around 40 Unite members and supporters protested outside Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) Headquarters on Junction 41 Business Park near Wakefield on 3rd September. The protest took place outside an extraordinary board meeting of the trust and demanded the re-recognition of Unite as well as full training of Emergency Care Assistants (ECA) to the level of Technicians with the correct rate of pay for that job.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
As Debbie Wilkinson, YAS Unite branch secretary explained when she addressed the protest “The Trust say they derecognised us because we weren’t constructive during the initial stages of the review,” ie. Unite didn’t roll over and accept the imposition staff who only went throughafew weeks training to crew ambulances instead of Technicians or Paramedics with much longer training periods. ECA’s earn less pay than Technicians and Paramedics, and this attack on patient safety as well as the jobs of ambulance service staff is part of a £46m package of cuts.
Debbie also pointed to the irony of the Trust derecognising Unite for raising concerns over patient safety at around the same time as the Franics report into Mid Staffs NHS Trust advocated that NHS staff should do just that!
The battle continues in YAS NHS Trust with a further protest organised for Tuesday 24th September at 8.30 am outside Cutler’s Hall, Church Street, Sheffield, S11HG. The branch can also be followed on twitter @UniteYASmembers.