Crunch talks between Midlands ambulance bosses and union officials were continuing last night in a last-ditch attempt to avert industrial action.
Representatives from Unison, the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel, the Transport and General Workers' Union and the GMB began their latest round of talks with ambulance service managers at 10am yesterday morning.
Union members - 730 of about 800 paramedics and technicians - are expected to stage a work-to-rule from 12.01am next Wednesday, with bans on overtime and covering sporting events also being imposed.
The first of three planned two-hour strikes is set to take place on Thursday, with stoppages also due on February 16 and 23.
Both sides have been locked in a bitter wrangle over a pay deal since last July, following claims that the Department of Health interfered with the process. The new pay deal would have seen a technician's salary rise to £22,000, while paramedics could see their earnings rise to between £22,000 and £30,000 under a new banding scheme.
Key issues were still being debated last night. A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "We are still hopeful this situation can be resolved without resorting to industrial action.
"The longer these talks go on for the better we hope the outcome will be, as this means they are getting down to the nitty-gritty of key issues. We do want to see this resolved."