Paramedics belonging to the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) have protested in Co Offaly about the refusal of the National Ambulance Service to facilitate payroll deduction of union subscriptions for their members.

Around 60 paramedics attended the protest at the Health Service Executive National Ambulance Service central payroll headquarters in Tullamore.

SIPTU traditionally represented most paramedics, with a smaller cohort represented by Unite and Impact, now Fórsa.

However, seven years ago, NASRA was set up with an affiliation to the Psychiatric Nurses Association and now claims to represent over 500 paramedics.

NASRA's National Secretary Tony Gregg accused the HSE of obstructing the fundamental rights of members to organise and join the union of their choice by denying them the facility of automatic payroll deduction of union subscriptions.

He said the HSE provides this facility for members of other unions, and for NASRA members who already worked for the HSE when they joined.

He said he believed that refusing to implement automatic payroll deduction is a device intended to stunt the growth of the union.

Mr Gregg said NASRA members will be intensifying their campaign to have union subscriptions deducted at source in the coming weeks.

In a statement, the HSE/National Ambulance Service described NASRA as an unofficial organisation adding that, as such, it does not have negotiation or representation rights to engage formally with the HSE regarding ambulance personnel.

It said that it would therefore be inappropriate for the HSE/NAS to deduct and provide NASRA with staff subscriptions.