Breakthrough in talks between union and ambulance bosses could avert strike action in Eastern region


- Credit: Archant

The possibility of strikes by ambulance staff in the region looks to have receded, after agreement was reached to consult on pilot measures over meal breaks and over-running shifts.

Trade union Unison told the East of England Ambulance Service Trust in May that it would ballot its members over strike action, with staff angry over a lack of rest breaks and late finishes to shifts.

The union said crews were working 13 to 18 hour shifts with lunch breaks of just half an hour, instead of the 12-hour shift with a 45-minute break they were entitled to.

But, following negotiations between the Trust and Unison, it has been agreed to consult on a number of measures have been agreed to be piloted to better support frontline staff in relation to late finishes and meal breaks.

As part of one pilot, crews would be booked out of service for certain, but not the most critical, calls if the time it would take to travel back to base afterwards would result in a late finish of more than half an hour.

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There would also be another pilot whereby front-line staff would be asked to respond to certain calls during their meal breaks.

The Trust and Unison will this week start joint consultation with managers, emergency operations centre staff and frontline staff.

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In a joint statement, the trust and the union said: 'The trust and Unison are committed to working in partnership to better support staff and the negotiating team will be monitoring the effectiveness of the incremental pilot on a monthly basis moving forwards.'

Do you have a health story? Call health correspondent Nick Carding on 01603 772439 or email

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