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Ambulance staff morale ‘in freefall’ over wages

Evesham Journal: IN THE LINE OF DUTY: An ambulanceman ferries patient in need of oxygen to hospital. IN THE LINE OF DUTY: An ambulanceman ferries patient in need of oxygen to hospital.

AMBULANCE staff feel “downtrodden and bullied” and are “treated with no respect” by their bosses, a paramedic has claimed.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service worker said morale was in freefall due to disputes over a threat to sick pay and changes to working conditions.

Nationally, ambulance service employers and unions are locked in discussions over proposed pay changes that would result in an additional “anti-social hours” payment for working nights and weekends being cut from sick pay.

Staff are also up in arms about proposals from West Midlands Ambulance Service that would see bosses dictate where they have to take their unpaid meal breaks.One employee, who has asked to remain anonymous, told your Worcester News that the rows are taking their toll on staff.

“Ambulance staff feel undervalued and morale is incredibly low,” our source said. “Deductions could cut sick pay by 25 per cent. We do have a higher incidence of sickness than other workers, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as we come into contact with sick people many times every shift. And we encounter manual handling challenges that most people couldn’t even dream of and our job can be extremely stressful.”

Workers also say it is “unreasonable” for bosses to dictate where the single, unpaid 30-minute break they get in a 12-hour shift may be taken.

“I get that break at my base station, the same place as I start and finish,” an employee said.” I have hot food that I prepare at home, take to work and store in a fridge. This ensures I get a decent meal. Now our management want to tell us where to take our break. This could be at another station, a stand-by point or at a hospital.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman Suzie Fothergill insisted bosses do value the efforts of staff.

She said sick pay had not been altered and that ongoing negotiations are a national matter and out of the trust’s hands.0 She added that discussions about meal breaks are ongoing and that “no changes have been made at present.

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