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500 ambulance staff to go on strike tomorrow

Around 500 ambulance service personnel who are members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association will go on strike tomorrow as part of an ongoing dispute over trade union representation rights.

Announcing three further strike days earlier this month the union said it demonstrates the resolve of ambulance personnel to be represented by the union of their choice, not by a trade union that the HSE wants to force them to join.

As well as full-day strike tomorrow, two consecutive strike days on Thursday, February 28 and Friday, March 1 are planned.

During a previous stoppage on Friday, January 22, the Government deployed Army personnel to support the HSE in providing ambulance service during the action that ran from 7am to 5pm.

HSE managers who were qualified paramedics moved into frontline services.

Striking ambulance personnel said they will respond to emergency and life-threatening events.

The HSE has said that the National Ambulance Service recognises the trade unions SIPTU, Unite and Fórsa as representatives for its staff.

Meanwhile, the PNA, on behalf of psychiatric nurses who are members of the union, has been engaged in intensive talks since Monday with the HSE, the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The talks commenced after the PNA suspended strike action by its 6,000 nurse members on Monday following a Labour Court hearing. All of the parties involved will attend a full Labour Court hearing tomorrow.