Hours cut for ambulance staff19th January 2012
Ambulance staff in Scotland have had their working hours changed to end a long-running dispute over meal breaks.
They currently work 40 hours a week, which includes two-and-a-half hours of unpaid break time, but they will now move to 37.5 hours a week including rest time.
The dispute arose following the death of a woman in Moray after an ambulance technician based near her home did not respond to a call as he was on a break.
The new deal, struck between the Scottish government and Unite, Unison and the GMB unions, will mean ambulance crews will now have to attend emergency calls whenever they come up during their shifts.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the solution would protect patient safety and support Scottish Ambulance Service workers.
“The agreement ensures that additional funding will be invested in the ambulance service, rather than in additional payments to existing ambulance staff,” she added.
“No individual staff member will gain financially when required to attend an emergency call during a rest period. I welcome a resolution that clearly demonstrates what I have always known and believed to be the case - that the priority of ambulance staff is their patients, not their personal gain.”
Pat Rafferty, Scottish secretary of the Unite union, called the solution a “step in the right direction” and added: “Our members in the Scottish ambulance service have worked long and hard to ensure a satisfactory conclusion to this sensitive issue.”
Ms Sturgeon also announced an extra investment of £5m a year to improve performance.
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Title: Hours cut for ambulance staff
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 20812
Date Added: 19th Jan 2012