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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 08:35 GMT
Ambulance crews in pay deal vote
Ambulance
Crews on Teesside have already come to a separate agreement
Ambulance crews in the north-east of England are to be balloted in a new deal, which may end a long-running row over payments during meal breaks.

North East Ambulance Service crews who are on meal breaks are not called out to attend emergencies - even if they are the closest to an incident.

The situation has prompted claims that lives are being put at risk by the ongoing row.

After talks on Tuesday, union leaders are to put a revised offer to members.

Unison representatives are to recommended to members an interim offer of 35 for each meal break which is disturbed by an emergency call.

'Great concern'

Ambulance trust chief executive, Simon Featherstone, said: "I am pleased that we have reached an understanding with Unison officials over this long-running issue, which I hope will go some way towards allaying public concerns."

The offer is an interim measure which, if accepted by Unison, will remain in effect until the outcome of further talks.

Joel Byers, Unison branch secretary for the ambulance service, said: "This offer is not an ideal solution for our members, but we recognised that urgent action was needed to address this issue which is why we have recommended it to our members."

The offer applies to ambulance crews in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham and will see crews contacted for emergency calls when they are the closest resource to an incident.

Crews on Teesside have already come to a separate agreement.


SEE ALSO
Air ambulance covers lunch break
12 Dec 06 |  England
Ambulance pay row action halted
26 Jan 06 |  England

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