Evening Express

North-east ambulance workers could take industrial action over ‘dangerous’ working hours

Ambulance workers in the north-east could take industrial action after concerns were raised about lengthy shifts.

In a series of incidents reported by Unite members it has been discovered that one Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) employee had worked up to 36 hours and another 23 hours in a shift that should only last 12 hours in the area which covers Grampian and Highlands and Islands.

Unite the union has confirmed it will hold a consultative ballot on industrial action following the concerns.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “It is a national scandal that some workers in the area covered by Highland and Islands, and Grampian have worked up to 36 hours.

“This is unfortunately not an unusual incident and there are many other examples of paramedics working dangerously long hours.

“Unite members in their determination to serve the public have had their goodwill and dedication exploited.

“For this reason, Unite will now move to a consultative ballot on industrial action which we hope focuses the minds of Scottish Ambulance Service management.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We are continuing to engage positively with our partners at Unite as we are keen to listen to and respond to any concerns raised by our staff or their representatives.

“We have long-standing arrangements in place to ensure we put patients at the heart of our decision making, whilst balancing the needs and wellbeing of our staff – who do a fantastic job day in, day out caring for patients across Scotland.

“We take this issue extremely seriously, which is why we are continuing to meet with staff and work closely with them to help resolve any issues raised. We look forward to working in partnership with our union colleagues to provide the very best service to our patients and staff.”