SIPTU is the main union recognised by the HSE and has negotiating rights for frontline ambulance grades employed by the Executive. Unite and FORSA also represent some ambulance grades. As a result, the HSE deducts subscriptions at source for those ambulance staff that are members of those unions. However, the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) is not recognised by the HSE and, therefore, does not have negotiating rights.
Whilst individuals have a right to membership of any trade union, if they choose to join an association which is not recognised by their employer, such membership is not facilitated by their employer. This means that the HSE does not facilitate the deduction of union subscriptions for this particular Association.
While it is regrettable that the PNA has taken industrial action, it is not possible to negotiate with a union which is not recognised as having negotiating rights for ambulance grades. I have asked my Department to engage with the HSE to explore ways forward and see if we can progress a resolution to this dispute.