Thursday 14 December 2017

Hospital staff vote overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action

Staff will refuse to report to a private management consultant whose firm is being paid €258,730 - twice the official rate for the job

Eilish O’Regan, Health Correspondent

HEALTH workers in the mid-west have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action which will see them refuse to report to a private management consultant whose firm is being paid €258,730 - twice the official rate for the job.

The IMPACT trade union said said its members at the Limerick group of hospitals voted by 90pc in favour of the action in protest at the decision to hire the private consultant to fill the post of of assistant chief executive and chief operating officer.

IMPACT assistant general secretary Andy Pike said the workers who range across several grades and include clerical workers are threatening not to report to the private consultant Starline Management Consulting.

This will involve not providing him with information and turning up at meetings.

It will mean the HSE will have to delegate another senior manager to liaise with the workers to maintain the running of the service in the private consultant’s place.

He said the action could trigger in ten days unless they receive assurances from the HSE that the consultancy will be brought to an end and that the post will be re-advertised through normal public service channels.

 “This industrial action is designed to highlight the opposition of hospital staff to the excessive and unwarranted salary payments to a senior manager through a management consultancy. It is not envisaged that the action would affect the delivery of services in any way.

“The HSE director general Tony O’ Brien has said the mid-west hospital group needs additional administration staff to provide vital services to patients. The money spent employing just one management consultant would cover the costs of at least five clerical staff to help the hospitals cope with increasing demands.

“ In these circumstances, staff very much resent reporting to a senior manager who is being paid at least twice the correct rate for the job,” he said. The issue is being investigated by the Dáil Public Accounts Committee.

Mr O’ Brien told the committee that the post was advertised twice and could not be filled.A spokeswoman for the hospital group said that the post is regarded as critical. It was “advertised the position on a number of occasions without succeeding to appoint a member of staff.

“ The current arrangement is an interim solution whilst the hospital seeks to make an appointment. It is re-advertising the position in the coming weeks.”

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