Ambulance staff across Cork and Ireland could enter into a 24 strike action in the coming weeks unless the HSE step in and negotiate, it has been revealed.
The strike centres on the refusal of the HSE to recognise the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA), a branch of the PNA, as the trade union of choice for more than 500 ambulance staff personnel.
Ambulance crew went on strike this morning at 7am at locations across the country including at the National Ambulance Service base on Kinsale Road, Cork.
David Walker, an advanced paramedic in Cork, told The Echo that members are determined to push on with the action and gain acknowledgement from the HSE.
“We’re in disbelief that we’re out here on strike for the sixth day and the HSE and Health Minister still refuse to talk,” he said.
“The Taoiseach described this as in interunion dispute which couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The possibility of escalating to a 24-hour strike is being discussed,” he added.
“Meanwhile, the HSE is only in contact with the PNA through solicitor’s letters which are costing public money.” The HSE said it is not possible to for the National Ambulance Service nor the HSE, to comment on the cost of these letters at this time, “due to ongoing industrial action by NASRA”.
NASRA representatives will meet in Mullingar next Thursday to discuss their next step.
Cork TD Mick Barry (Solidarity) said that any danger to public health and public safety caused by an escalation would be “entirely the responsibility of a Government who seem determined to play fast and loose with the democratic rights of a group of workers who provide a vital service”.