Thursday 22 August 2019

Hospital staff strike: 'It's not the money' - porter

Hospital porter Mark Manning says he and his colleagues want the Government to deliver on the agreement it made. Picture: Provision
Hospital porter Mark Manning says he and his colleagues want the Government to deliver on the agreement it made. Picture: Provision

Anne-Marie Walsh

Porter Mark Manning, from Cork city, who has worked at Cork University Hospital for three years, says today's strike is not about money.

Mr Manning (38) spent yesterday putting together a timetable for emergency cover for the tasks he carries out every day. They include delivering food, removing waste, transporting blood and pharmaceutical products, and patients.

"The priority is that the patient is not put at risk," he said. "We are doing this to highlight behaviours in the leadership."

However, he admits that services will be badly hit when he mounts pickets with his colleagues.

"Management will be picking up the slack. One of the HSE officers from portering management will be collecting medical waste and delivering food. I think that services will slow down dramatically and the pressure on managers will expose what we do day to day."

He said a colleague recently walked 15 miles in a single shift. "The logistics are very, very old and there are modern infection control standards that require a lot of movement around the campus. Because of the old-style building, there is a massive distance to cover."

He said porters earn between €25,000 and €32,000 a year, and the increase he would be due under the job evaluation scheme at the core of the dispute would equal €44 a week.

Mr Manning, who is single, said this would not make a huge difference to him but he is more concerned about the precedent it would set if money due under the scheme is not paid.

"It isn't that we want more money but we want the agreement we have with the Government followed through on.

"We have been referred to as a hotel service by management but we deal with dead bodies and extremely emotional situations. If we allow them renege on deals, we will be stuck here for a generation."

Irish Independent

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