Ambulance services bosses have de-recognised a trade union in a row over changes to staffing and pay.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) has told the Unite union it will no longer be recognised for negotiations on behalf of its 450 members.
The move came after Unite claimed patient safety was being put at risk by cost-cutting plans which will see semi-skilled care assistants sent to 999 call-outs. Unions said last month that the salaries and skills of more than 300 emergency staff would be downgraded to help save £46m over five years.
Bosses at YAS insisted safety would not be compromised. They said that with effect from February 4, YAS had decided to cease voluntary recognition of Unite for the purposes of collected bargaining.
Arrangements with public sector union Unison, which represents the majority of YAS staff, are not affected.
YAS chief executive David Whiting said: “Unfortunately the working relationship with Unite the Union remains disappointing and we have not received a constructive contribution to the difficult decisions that the trust has been required to make for the future, particularly as we seek to maintain high-quality care for patients against the realities of the tough economic climate.”
Unite accused YAS of trying to silence it from raising safety concerns. Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “Unite will not sit idly by while this management bully staff into accepting a second class service for the public of Yorkshire, putting lives at risk.
“Those responsible for the decision to make these cuts and derecognising a trade union that defends the public and its members will be held to account for their actions.”