Airwave has said that staffing cuts will not affect its ability to deliver new radio communications to ambulance services by the end of 2009.

The emergency services communications network has made almost 100 redundancies across its departments in response to the economic downturn.

These have sparked industrial action. About 180 members of the Communication Worker’s Union at Airwave will enforce two days of strikes, starting today.

David Sangster, general manager for health at Airwave, told E-Health Insider: “The redundancies will not be affecting the ambulance roll-out programme or the fire service programme as we are very conscious about providing a faultless service to the emergency services.

“We will not put the ambulance service roll-out programme in jeopardy and it is still on track to be completed by the end of the year, possibly even November. However, almost all other departments will see job cuts as the recession takes it toll.”

The programme to deliver a new radio system to ambulances and other public services has been subject to heavy criticism and heavily delayed. The Department of Health initially anticipated that a full roll-out would be complete by the end of 2008.

Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary of CWU said that bosses’ refusal to reconsider compulsory redundancies had left members with no choice but to take action.

Richard Bobbett, Airwave’s chief executive, said: “I want to reassure all our customers and the general public, that the Airwave service will be unaffected by this strike action.

“Airwave is more than prepared for this sort of eventuality. We have robust business continuity arrangements in place for all eventualities from flu pandemics to national emergencies.”

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Link: Airwave solutions