Industrial action by ambulance workers in Donegal will not put patients at risk - union

Industrial action by ambulance workers in Donegal will not put patients at risk - union

The union representing ambulance workers in Donegal has assured the public that patients will not be put at risk due to industrial action which is ongoing by staff in Letterkenny.

The action, which affects bureaucratic duties, began last Saturday and is running indefinitely. The union says the action by members in the National Ambulance Service based in Letterkenny, which began at 1 am last Saturday, is due to a management failure to implement a Rights Commissioner recommendation.

Talks between both sides at the Workplace Relation Commission ended on December 6th without agreement being reached. Siptu Sector Organiser Martin O’Rourke, said the action, which relates to compensatory leave, is designed not to put members of the public at risk.

“We don’t want to put any member of the public at risk,” he said. “The action is at the very low end of the scale and it is more towards the bureaucratic end of the work. Nothing they are doing is putting patients at risk or will impinge on patient's safety.” He said the action is indefinite and will be reviewed after Christmas. “We are not keen to increase the level of intensity of the action but we will have to review it after Christmas if the employer is not paying attention.”

The Health Service Executive said it was regrettable that a resolution could not be found. “Unfortunately the parties were not able to agree on a resolution mechanism to prevent industrial action going ahead which the National Ambulance Service finds regrettable,” the HSE said in a statement.

“The National Ambulance Service management and Siptu will continue to engage at a national and local level to find ways to address the issues.  NAS are putting contingency plans in place to minimise the impact on service delivery in the area.”

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