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November 6 th 2018 – Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) ambulance personnel members will from tomorrow (Weds. November 7 th ) refuse to work additional shifts (overtime) in protest at continued refusal of the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing their interests, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members.

The refusal of additional shifts by up to 500 PNA ambulance personnel members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) will take effect from 7 a.m. (Weds. Nov. 7 th ) when Phase 2 of the mandated industrial action commences. 

PNA General Secretary, Mr Peter Hughes said the move to Phase 2 of their industrial action by ambulance personnel represented a significant escalation in the dispute that is entirely of the HSE's making.

He said: “For highly skilled, professional and dedicated ambulance personnel to be forced by the intransigence of the HSE to embark on this overtime ban is totally unacceptable and confirms that the HSE sees no limits to the extent to which it will attempt to deny ambulance personnel their rights to join the union of their choice while also trying to force them to be part of a union that they do not want to be part of.”

“The determination of PNA ambulance personnel members to protect their basic trade union rights is resolute. As dedicated front line emergency professionals they deserve to have their wishes to join the union of their choice respected. The intransigence of the HSE in forcing this dispute on ambulance personnel should be of concern to all trade unionists.' 

Sinead McGrath, the National Chairperson of the PNA  ambulance personnel branch (NASRA) said: “Against the background of the many challenges facing our health services this winter, the public, and indeed our politicians, should be extremely concerned that the HSE is forcing this unnecessary dispute on ambulance personnel. The HSE in refusing to allow ambulance personnel to be represented by the PNA, should be aware that it is jeopardising the operation of the ambulance service which relies heavily on our members to undertake additional shifts.'

She continued: “The ambulance personnel branch of PNA has been effectively representing the interests of its members since its formation in 2010 when ambulance personnel, in frustration with their previous union, took the decision to establish a member driven and led official branch of the PNA. 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.”

“Eight years on from its formation, the ambulance personnel branch of PNA is determined not to be dictated to by the HSE in its efforts to force our members to be part of another union. I am again calling on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D. and politicians generally, to demand that the HSE step back from this dispute and move as a matter of urgency to address the issues at its core”. 

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