A Merseyside ambulance manager has warned staff that they could be putting their jobs at risk if they take industrial action in a growing dispute over pay.

Mark Sykes, director of corporate affairs at Mersey Regional Ambulance Service trust, said if there was industrial action hospital and community trusts might 'look elsewhere for patient transport service staff'.

Talks were due to take place on Tuesday over a Unison claim for 'harmonisation' of pay between patient transport services crews on trust contracts and those on national terms. Unison regional officer Colin Baker said the gap between the two groups had widened to about£1 an hour, or£30-£40 a week.

The dispute has already triggered a ballot asking crews whether they would be willing to take strike action or action short of a strike.