Unions expect HSE to offer redundancy again
UNIONS representing HSE workers expect a controversial €400m redundancy package to be reintroduced in the new year.
The IMPACT trade union, which represents clerical, administrative and management grades at the HSE, said the "obvious thing" for the Government to do would be to offer the package again in 2011.
The prediction came as figures confirmed just 1,700 workers were prepared to take the package -- far below the 3,000 to 5,000 the HSE had been seeking. The once-off scheme was announced in a bid to get rid of staff and save up to €200m a year.
A spokesman for IMPACT said the union was not surprised the numbers taking up the offer were so low and said the deadlines for acceptance were too tight.
"The obvious thing for them to do is to have a crack at it in the new year. It was unclear to us why the December 30 (deadline) was sacrosanct," he said.
"The thing to do is to go at it again but to give it more time."
The Department of Finance had set aside a special fund of €400m to finance the voluntary severance and early retirement scheme targeted initially at managerial and administrative staff, and then at support staff such as porters.
It is expected that the final figure of how many people will take up the scheme will emerge in the coming days.
Last night, a spokesperson for the HSE said management would be reflecting on the issue over the coming weeks.
There was no decision yet as to what the the next step would be, she said.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Mary Harney said she had indicated previously the deal was "likely not" to be reintroduced in the future.