Wednesday 26 April 2017

Hospital workers to strike on same day nurses take action

Trade union Siptu announced health service support staff voted by 94pc in favour of taking strike action. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Trade union Siptu announced health service support staff voted by 94pc in favour of taking strike action. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Hospital support staff will begin an all-out strike in a dispute over the national public service agreements - on the same day nurses start their industrial action.

Trade union Siptu announced that health service support staff voted by 94pc in favour of taking strike action, which will begin in selected hospitals on Tuesday, March 7.

The action has been scheduled to take place on the same day some 30,000 nurses are to begin a work to rule in their dispute over retention and recruiting of staff.

More than 10,000 support staff, including cleaners, porters, security and assistants, will strike after the results of the ballot were released yesterday.

Paul Bell, a health division organiser with the union, said the size of the vote in favour of a strike was significant. "The response from our members is clear and emphatic," he said.

"The size of the vote in favour of strike action undoubtedly demonstrates our members' anger with the Health Service Executive and Department of Health due to their failure to give them the fair and equal treatment they demand.

"These issues include a failure by management to adhere to the fully binding provisions of the Lansdowne Road and Haddington Road Agreements," he said.

Mr Bell said it was never the desire of Siptu members to strike. "However, after 15 months of management obstruction and intransigence our members have been left with no option but to commence strike action."

Dispute

The union official explained the key areas of the dispute.

"The most crucial elements that have not been adhered to include the reintroduction of a job evaluation scheme and the application of incremental credit to interns," he said.

A total of 39 acute hospital facilities will initially be hit by the support staff action.

"This strategy is our members' preferred option to reduce the impact on the public.

"We have three weeks to the expiry date of the strike notice so there remains ample opportunity for the issues in dispute to be resolved.

"However, for this to occur there needs to be a change in attitude and approach from management," he said.

The HSE said it was "disappointed" with the decision by the support workers to strike.

"The HSE is open to engaging with Siptu officials and is hopeful that a satisfactory resolution can be reached regarding the outstanding issues," it said.

Earlier this month, the Irish Nurses and Midwives' Organisation (INMO) rejected staffing, recruitment and retention proposals put forward by the HSE, describing them as "totally inadequate".

"The clear message received from INMO members is that their workplaces are now unsafe and dangerously overcrowded," general secretary Liam Doran said, adding the service was at "breaking point".

Irish Independent

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