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Local ambulance workers join their colleagues on the picket line in Dundalk

Local ambulance workers join their colleagues on the picket line in Dundalk

Patients requiring ambulance services today face potential disruption as 500 ambulance personnel belonging to the Psychiatric Nurses Association stage a ten-hour strike.

Local ambulance personnel are amongst those who have taken to the picket line today. Above is a picture captured by Tony Murphy of local staff outside the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.

The dispute centres on the Health Services’s refusal to recognise the PNA – and their ambulance personnel’s branch NASRA – as representatives of the staff in question.

PNA members in the National Ambulance Service are mounting pickets between 7am and 5pm around the country in pursuit of their right to be represented by the union of their choice.

The Health Service Executive said that recognising yet another union would impair good industrial relations within the National Ambulance Service.

It has also refused to deduct union subscriptions through the payroll system as it does for other unions.

The PNA only represents 500 of the National Ambulance Service’s 1,800 staff; most of the remainder belong to SIPTU.

The PNA will provide contingency cover for life-threatening, potentially life-threatening or humanitarian cases.

PNA General Secretary Pete Hughes said members are looking for the “fundamental right to be represented by a union of their choice” and called on the Minister for Health to intervene in the dispute.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the minister should tell the HSE to engage under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission.

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