News Health

Sunday 22 July 2018

38,000 health service support staff to ballot for strike action

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Frank McGrath
Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Frank McGrath

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

OVER 38,000 workers are set to ballot for strike action over the health service’s “failure” to reopen a job evaluation scheme.

More than 30,000 SIPTU and 8,000 IMPACT clerical, administrative and management staff have accused the HSE and Department of Health of reneging on the Lansdowne Road deal.

Under the agreement, an assessment of healthcare roles was due to be established to decide if staff should be awarded higher grades or pay rises.

The unions said the scheme that had been shelved in 2008 was due to be reestablished last month, following an agreement reached in April.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said the failure of the HSE and Department of Health to set a concrete date for the re-introduction of the scheme is "totally unacceptable".

He said his members received five separate commencement dates for its re-introduction, all of which failed to materialise.

“Understandably, our members are very frustrated and have now decided that they have no option but to ballot for strike action in order to force a just solution to this situation,” he said.

Impact said the eight-year suspension of the scheme has caused a significant backlog in applications from workers for a re-evaluation. It said they took on extra responsibilities as staff numbers fell during a moratorium on recruitment.

“I agree when I hear ministers say that Lansdowne Road is the only game in town,” said IMPACT National Secretary, Eamonn Donnelly.

“But I can’t find the section of the agreement that allows management to pick and choose the bits it wants to abide by."

The IMPACT ballot closes on August 12.

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