Wednesday 21 August 2019

Strike action planned for up to 10,000 support staff at 38 hospitals this month

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Anne-Marie Walsh

UP to 10,000 hospital support staff at 38 hospitals and health care facilities have served notice of a 24-hour strike on June 20.

The staff are demanding that the government pay wage hikes that they say are outstanding following a previous job evaluation scheme.

Among the hospitals affected if the stoppage goes ahead are Cork University Hospital, Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Beaumont Hospital, the Mater and St James Hospital.

In a statement, Siptu said “initial action” will involve up to 10,000 staff in portering, household and catering services.

They work as health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs and surgical instrument technicians.

“It is time for the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, to step in and resolve this dispute,” said Deputy General Secretary for the Public Sector, John King.

“Failure to do this will undoubtedly bring pressures on the delivery of health services.”

He said members accepted all public service agreements since 2010 and the government must honour its obligations under the deals.

“It is time to deliver for these workers,” he said. “It is unacceptable that workers should be forced to go into an official dispute in order to get what they are owed.”

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said chefs co-operated with an independent review process but their hopes of pay justice were dashed.

“The ball is now in the court of the government,” he said.

“The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, has a small three week window to resolve this dispute or face the consequences.”

He said members voted overwhelmingly by 95pc in favour of strike action and will not back down until they win their campaign.

A HSE spokesperson said it is disappointed that Siptu has taken a decision to take industrial action at this time.

“Such action is unnecessary and will lead to unnecessary disruption to the delivery of patient and client services if it goes ahead,” it said in a statement.

It called on Siptu to avail of the dispute resolution mechanisms contained in the Public Service Stability Agreement to have its grievances considered.

The HSE urged the union to return to talks.

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