Ambulance crews in East Lancashire may take action over festive period in protest over sick pay ‘attack’ (From Blackburn Citizen)
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Ambulance crews in East Lancashire may take action over festive period in protest over sick pay ‘attack’
PARAMEDICS have threatened to go on strike over Christmas after accusing ambulance chiefs of an ‘unacceptable attack’ on their sick pay entitlements.
Unions said North West Ambulance Service amended the terms and conditions for paramedics in September, which meant staff now lose up to 25 per cent of their pay when off sick.
A joint statement from ‘Lancashire’s paramedics’ said: “Paramedics get paid approximately £35,000 per year, inclusive of unsocial hours payments.
“Now, if a staff member is off sick for say, four weeks, he will lose £586 in his monthly salary.
“Staff are horrified that this has been railroaded into place and are taking the matter very seriously, especially in Lancashire.
“Such a significant loss of earnings if off sick is not acceptable and it also affects our pensions.”
The NHS Agenda for Change agreement, which relates to health workers’ terms and conditions, says that ‘unsocial hours payments will still count for sick pay’, the statement adds.
The unions have balloted for strike action over Christmas, which is the ‘busiest time of the year’, with a decision set to be announced after December 3.
When asked to comment, John Warren, assistant director of employment practices at NWAS, said the trust had not been ‘formally notified’ of any industrial action.
It comes on the back of a series of strikes by the fire service in a row over pensions and retirement age, the latest of which took place between 6am and 8am yesterday.
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