Dispute over meal breaks is resolved

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A row between a union and bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service over changes to meal breaks has been resolved.

Unison complained that changes to the meal break policy at Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) meant staff could go more than eight hours without a rest.

The union first threatened to ballot its 3,000 members at YAS in March. Industrial action was averted after the changes were not imposed.

But YAS then said it was going ahead with the changes two weeks ago, removing an agreed break between the fourth and sixth hours of a shift, Unison claimed.

Now YAS appears to have made a second U-turn after Unison said it would legally challenge the decision.

Bryn Webster, Unison’s branch secretary, said: “They sent something out saying they were going to change it. We said it would be a breach of the European Working Time Directive.

“We now have an agreed procedure and we are quite happy with it.”

An ambulance service spokeswoman said: “Following consultation with Unison representatives in mid-April, minor changes were made to the rest break arrangements to ensure that we provide an effective service to the people of Yorkshire and these changes remain under review.

“We take staff welfare very seriously and have effective measures in place to support their health and wellbeing.”