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Industrial Action by Unite the Union on 2-3 April 2013

02 April 2013

We are committed to minimising the level of disruption to services during the 24-hour strike called by Unite the Union which will start at 06.00 hours on Tuesday 2 April 2013. The strike is expected to involve less than 10 per cent of the total staff employed by the Trust.  

David Whiting, Chief Executive, would like to reassure the people of Yorkshire that they have contingency plans in place during this strike and that the Trust will continue to make every effort to get to patients as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining high standards of patient care.

He said: “Our contingency plans are focused on providing a safe, responsive and high-quality emergency service to patients and this will always remain our top priority. We have been actively seeking to discuss with Unite the Union how patients can be protected during the strike through a number of exemptions, to ensure Unite members continue to respond to 999 patients, prior to this industrial action taking place.

"Our willingness to engage with Unite the Union has meant that senior officials from the Trust have been in regular contact with Unite, supported by ACAS, throughout the Easter period. Unfortunately, these talks have not resulted in any exemptions, so Unite the Union has confirmed that its members will not be responding to any 999 calls during the 24-hour period. I am deeply concerned over this type of action, which I believe will be of concern to all of our A&E staff, who are very committed to patient care, and will place many of them in a very difficult situation.

“We recognise the legal right for those of our staff who are members of the union to participate in industrial action, but our focus is to balance that right with the need to first safeguard patient care and safety. However, I do not believe that industrial action in this form is in the best interests of patients, and it is deeply concerning for a trade union representing ambulance service workers to strike without making any concessions to patient safety.

“Throughout the 24-hour period of the strike, and the continuous overtime ban that Unite the Union commenced on 26 March 2013, our focus will be on taking steps to maintain operational cover to sustain effective and safe services.”

This action will undoubtedly place strain on our 999 service, and therefore the Trust is reminding the public to use the service wisely for patients with serious and life-threatening conditions only during the 24-hour period of industrial action, and asks people to only call 999 for an ambulance in an emergency when it is obvious that someone has a life-threatening or serious illness or injury.  Anyone requiring advice or treatment for a non-emergency situation or minor ailment considers options such as self-care, a visit to a local pharmacist, GP surgery or walk-in centre.


  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has formally advised Unite the Union that, with effect from 4 February 2013, it has decided to cease to voluntarily recognise Unite the Union for the purposes of collective bargaining, ie negotiations on behalf of their members. 
  • The Trust remains committed to working in partnership with UNISON, which is not affected by the decision to derecognise Unite the Union, and to the principles of effective consultation and negotiation.  
  • Recognition of Unite the Union has been on a voluntary basis, not a statutory one.  Consequently the Trust is able to determine to no longer recognise Unite the Union on a voluntary basis.
  • The Trust is wholly committed to engaging with and involving its staff in matters that affect them and our patients.
  • UNISON is the largest trade union within the Trust and represents the majority of our employees. It is Britain and Europe's largest public sector union.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department