Cork ambulance staff on strike today amid fears of escalation

Cork ambulance staff on strike today amid fears of escalation
Cork members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association branch of PNA picketing at the Cork city ambulance base on Kinsale Road in February.Picture: David Keane.

Ambulance staff across Cork and Ireland have gone on strike today in what is the sixth action since the beginning of the year.

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.

Around 100 took part in a protest outside the Dail in recent weeks with further strikes planned if the HSE does not step in and negotiate.

David Walker, an advanced paramedic in Cork, told The Echo that morale within the ambulance service is at an all time low.

Cork TD Mick Barry (Solidarity) will question the government on the issue today in the Dail.

“Fine Gael’s decision to play hardball with this strike, to refuse to talk, to try and ride it out is just serving to harden the mood and determination in the ranks of the strikers,” said Deputy Barry.

“If there is no give after the strike today I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the ambulance staff opted for an escalation.

“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,” he added.

A full complement of ambulance staff will be on duty during the strike responding from the picket line so the public are not put at risk.

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