The resignation of Yorkshire ambulance chief executive, David Whiting, could herald ‘a new era’ for patient safety and industrial relations, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Monday 17 November).
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said he would be seeking an early meeting when the new chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) NHS Trust was appointed ‘to open a new chapter’ for ambulance staff and the public. David Whiting resigned ‘with immediate effect’ earlier today.
Unite’s 340 ambulance staff members have been locked in a dispute for nearly two years with the YAS management over patient and staff safety issues. As a result of raising these concerns, the union was derecognised by David Whiting at the beginning of 2013.
Terry Cunliffe said: “This is not a time for recriminations, but a time to rebuild the service for the benefit of patients and staff. We see this as a new chapter opening up and Unite is determined to play a constructive role in this renewal process
“Unite will be seeking an early meeting with the new chief executive when he or she is appointed for talks to rebuild the service.
“I would also like to pay great tribute to our members who have shown enormous solidarity and resolve during very difficult times over the last two years.”
Unite’s Yorkshire ambulance members have held a series of strikes since April 2013. The dispute started when the bosses withdrew recognition from Unite as a union representing staff, after the union raised concerns about patient safety at the start of 2013.
For further information please contact Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer: on 07776 202007 or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.