SIPTU has written to the National Ambulance Service today (Friday, 1st June) to warn of major staffing problems within the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) which takes emergency calls and dispatches ambulances across the country. SIPTU Organiser, John Mc Camley, said: “Currently, the NEOC, which operates across two sites in Tallaght in Dublin and Ballyshannon in County Donegal, is below its agreed staffing level by 35 workers. In 2016, a similar deficit led to an industrial dispute at its operation centre in Tallaght. “Following that dispute, an agreement was reached between management and SIPTU members to resolve the staffing issues. Unfortunately, a number of delays in implementing parts of this agreement have contributed to a continuing high turnover of staff, particularly in the emergency call taker grade.” SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “All our members in the National Ambulance Service provide a vital service in sometimes very stressful conditions. However, many of these highly skilled emergency staff working in the NEOC have a starting annual wage of just above €21,000. SIPTU representatives have asked management to draw up an action plan which would reduce the delays in recruiting staff and deal with the retention issue.”