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Dublin, 1 November 2018 – Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) ambulance personnel members today (Thursday, November 1 st ) held a protest at the HSE National HR Directorate Offices at Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 8, at the continued refusal of the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing the interests of their ambulance personnel members, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members.

Today's protest is part of ongoing industrial action by PNA ambulance personnel (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) which began on October 10 th ,  and which will move to Phase 2 next Wednesday (November 7 th ) when up to 500 branch members of the PNA ambulance personnel branch (NASRA) will refuse to work additional shifts (overtime) nationally.

Speaking at today's protest, PNA General Secretary, Mr Peter Hughes accused the HSE of showing contempt for the clear wishes of ambulance personnel to be members of and represented by the PNA.

He said: ‘For the HSE to refuse to accept that ambulance personnel throughout the country want to be members of the PNA shows total contempt for the wishes of these front line workers, who must have the right to be members of the union of their choice.

Ambulance personnel made a decision in 2010 to come within the PNA as a member driven and led official branch of the Union. That PNA branch (the National Ambulance Service Representative Association- NASRA) has grown its membership consistently since its formation and has successfully represented scores of members in industrial relations and grievance cases.'

He said: ‘The refusal now of the HSE to engage with our ambulance personnel branch, or to facilitate the payroll deduction of union subscriptions from NASRA members, amounts to nothing short of an effort to dictate which union ambulance personnel should be members of and frustrate the continued development of the NASRA branch.  Ambulance personnel have taken a stand to protect their rights. The HSE must resolve this dispute to avoid the escalation of industrial action next week.'

Chairperson of the NASRA branch of PNA, Sinead McGrath said PNA/NASRA members were left with no other option but to embark on industrial action to protect their fundamental employee rights to representation.

She said: ‘As dedicated and committed front line professionals of the health and emergency services, their decision to embark on industrial action, and to escalate it next week, to secure their rights to representation by the union of their choice, was not taken lightly.'

She added: ‘With the HSE continuing to refuse to engage with PNA/NASRA to resolve this serious dispute, I am calling on the  Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D. to demand that the HSE step back from triggering this escalation in the industrial action and move as a matter of urgency  to address the issues at  the core of the dispute'. 

Media Contacts: Derek Cunningham (086-2430535), Sinead McGrath (087-766 8814), Tony Gregg, (086-3344186)