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GMB Scotland: Ambulance crews lose faith in management

Friday, May 5, 2023

GMB Scotland: Ambulance crews lose faith in management

Exhausted ambulance workers have lost faith in management as workplace relations hit a new low, according to GMB Scotland.

Reps for GMB, the largest trade union in the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), have unanimously backed a vote of no confidence in service managers after accusing them of failing to address a series of concerns.

They claim managers have not tackled the issues despite being warned their failure to act is damaging wellbeing and undermining morale.

Curbs on staff carrying over holidays is just one of the outstanding issues with GMB Scotland saying SAS has ignored official guidance for workers to have more time to use untaken leave.

A Scottish Government directive to the ambulance service and NHS Scotland said staff should have three more months from 1 April 2023 to use up last year’s leave after many worked through the winter to ease escalating pressures on frontline services.

However, GMB Scotland says the ambulance service is refusing to follow the directive while failure to address repeated concerns around the handling of complaints and rest breaks have also caused widespread discontent among staff.

The union has also complained about a “blacklist” compiled by managers of crew members in Glasgow who have been forced to return to their station to change uniform.

The union has now written to the outgoing chief executive Pauline Howie warning that if the issues are not addressed with urgency, the GMB will withdraw from crucial workplace partnership arrangements. Howie, who is retiring, will soon be succeeded by Michael Dickson.

GMB Scotland organiser Karen Leonard said service executives risk doing serious and long-lasting damage to relations with staff if they do not act to address the issues.

“Our members are skilled and committed and go above and beyond for patients every day,” she said.

“That commitment should be recognised by management not taken for granted and exploited. We have had a series of assurances that these issues would be addressed but seen no action.

“There is a complete lack of engagement with our members’ concerns that cannot continue.”

She has written to health secretary Michael Matheson urging him to take action to resolve the issues around untaken leave and warning GMB Scotland will take legal action to recover lost wages if management do not address staff concerns.


Contact: GMB Scotland Communications on 07738 486317 or email

Listen to Karen Leonard, GMB Scotland Organiser on BBC Radio Good Morning Scotland Thursday 4 May 2023: