Date: Fri 23 September 2011
Scotland's ambulance workers overwhelmingly reject working
Scotland's ambulance workers have overwhelmingly rejected latest
proposals by the Scottish Ambulance Service to resolve a protracted
working time dispute.
Members of the UNISON and Unite unions were balloted on the
proposed changes to their terms and conditions, with both trades
unions returning an 80 per cent rejection of the offer of 12th
However, proposals for a lump sum payment of £250 a year for
workers to respond to meal break during unpaid time, plus £50
per call-out, fails to address the wider issues at play.
David Forbes, Regional Organiser for UNISON, said: "The employer's
offer was put to our members and they have voted overwhelmingly
to reject these proposals.
"Ambulance work is very demanding and our members greatly value
balance and stability in their working time, during which it
is the employer's responsibility to ensure that adequate staff
and resources are in place to cover these periods. Our members
deal with life and death decisions day in, day out. That's why
it's so important to staff - and for the piece of mind of the
Scottish public - that often long and stressful shifts are underpinned
by clarity in the terms and conditions of this essential workforce."
Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said, "This rejection
merely scratches the surface of the issue. Our members want
to see the Scottish Ambulance Service properly resourced and
fit to serve the public. Instead they have been demonised for
following imposed working time changes. In 2004, the NHS Agenda
for Change (AfC) reduced our members' working week by 2.5 hours.
Simply trying to pigeon-hole the unresolved issue of unpaid
working time as a 'meal-break' fails to address the matter.
Lump sum payments merely ignore the problems created by AfC
- problems that can be resolved very quickly by the Scottish
Government and through a negotiated agreement which both UNISON
and Unite members are fully committed."
Notes to editors
UNISON's ballot saw a turnout of 74.1 per cent of members.
Of these members, 79.2 per cent voted to reject the proposals.
Unite's ballot saw a turnout of 67 per cent of members. Of these
members, 80 per cent voted to reject the proposals.
Ambulance workers, along with other NHS staff, work 37.5 hours
per week, with an additional 30 minute unpaid meal break each
For further information, contact David Forbes, Regional
Organiser for UNISON, on 07985 121397 or 0131 226 0059 or John
Gallacher, Unite Scottish Ambulance Service Convenor, on 07789