STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
AMBULANCE crews and other emergency medical staff are to stage a strike on the 21st of this month, in protest at the regional government's intransigence in recognising an improved pay and working conditions agreement.

Negotiations had taken place between the previous ruling Partido Popular under the presidency of Jaume Matas and the unions representing the ambulance crews and primary care workers, and an agreement was reached with regard to compensation for out of hours and public holiday working, special arrangements for crews who were hired only to work in specific areas and for those over 60-years-of-age. After the elections in May this year, when the Socialists under current Balearic President Francesc Antich gained power, the new authorities claimed that the agreement had not been legally ratified.

A general workers' assembly was held yesterday by the health union - Cemsatse at which calls were made for the resignation of Jaume Ripoll, Emergency Services director for the “pressure” he was bringing to bear on his staff, “threatening” them with official proceedings if they refuse to turn up for work.

Meanwhile, the regional ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs also met with union representatives yesterday to see if anything at all could be done to avert industrial action, but it finally proved impossible because of lack of union support. Cemsatse had claimed that the meeting with the ministry had been convened to renegotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement reached with the previous Balearic government. This, said the union, was “not on the cards” as the issue was one of the government recognising the already-existing agreement which satisfies the workers' demands, and not of creating a new one.

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