Ambulance personnel belonging to the Psychiatric Nurses Association have voted overwhelmingly to back industrial action in a dispute over negotiating rights and deduction of union subscriptions.

Traditionally personnel in the National Ambulance Service were represented by SIPTU and their union dues were automatically deducted and sent to the union through the payroll system.

However, around 500 out of approximately 1,800 Emergency Medical Technicians have joined a breakaway group called the National Ambulance Service Representative Association, which is affiliated to the PNA.

The HSE has said that the PNA does not have negotiating rights for the grades in question, and so it is refusing to deduct and remit the union subscription.

NASRA had previously balloted for industrial action, but postponed its action when the HSE threatened to seek an injunction.

In a statement this evening, the PNA said members in the National Ambulance Service had voted by 98% in favour of industrial action.

It will write to the HSE in the coming days to inform it of the ballot result.

A spokesperson said the union was still deciding the nature, scope and timing of the industrial action, but confirmed that it would be at least three weeks before any disruption takes place.