13/03/2015

NIAS Declares 'Major Incident' Over Strike

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) has declared a 'major incident' after members of staff threatened strike action.

Ambulance staff and public service workers are taking part in a 24 hour strike today, Friday 13th March, over budget cuts.

All buses and trains have also been cancelled.

The NIAS Trust had reached an initial agreement with trade unions to provide cover for only emergencies on Friday, however the Ambulance Service said it had no choice but to declare a major incident to ensure the public's safety.

An NIAS spokesman said: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has tonight been forced to declare a major incident to maintain a safe level of ambulance cover throughout the planned period of industrial action on Friday 13 March.
News Image
"An already precarious position following agreement with trade unions has deteriorated to a situation where levels of cover are critical from midnight tonight. Belfast, Derry, Omagh Enniskillen, Lisburn are among towns that would be without ambulance cover from midnight, with other areas being left with seriously reduced levels of cover. This has placed these communities at serious risk in terms of ambulance provision.

"Despite their trade unions agreeing that staff would respond to life-threatening emergencies, the Trust has been inundated with staff phoning in to say: 'I am withdrawing my labour'.

"The Trust has been unable to illicit timely responses from trade union colleagues to communications informing them of the situation.

"NIAS has exhausted all alternative contingency options and lives would be at risk if we allowed the situation to deteriorate further. The Trust would expect staff to report for duty in response to this major incident in line with protocols agreed with trade union representatives."

The mass strike over Stormont budget cuts began at midnight.

(CD)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

25 May 2021
£50,000 Worth Of Suspected Class A Drugs Seized In West Belfast
Police have seized £50,000 worth of suspected Class A drugs during a house raid in west Belfast. Equipment linked to drug dealing was also discovered. A man has been arrested and has been bailed pending further enquiries.
01 April 2008
Ambulance Crew Involved In M1 Crash
An ambulance crew has been involved in a crash in Belfast as they were attempting to resuscitate a young baby on the M1 motorway. The crew had been flagged down on Kennedy Way to help an infant who had stopped breathing, when a lorry collided with the ambulance at 11am today. The lorry was approaching the Broadway roundabout.
18 March 2003
Paramedics boycott riot situations after assaults
The ambulance service in north Belfast have said that they will not be attending public disorder situations in certain areas after crews were assaulted on two occasions over the weekend.
06 February 2002
Ambulance staff representatives meet with SDLP
Representatives from the health union Unison and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service have met with the SDLP at Stormont to discuss recent attacks on paramedics.
09 December 2019
Five Hospitalised After A1 Crash
Four adults and one child have been taken to hospital after a crash on the A1 dual carriageway. The road was closed in both directions for some time following the collision at around 2pm on Sunday 08 December. Emergency services and the air ambulance attended the scene.