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Thursday 18 January 2018

Hospital strike threat remains despite talks deal

Anne-Marie Walsh and Eilish O'Regan

AN industrial relations body has stepped in to avert a strike that could affect up to 2,500 patients at a private hospital next week.

Unions and management at the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin will attend talks at the Labour Relations Commission this morning to end a dispute over a five to 10pc pay cut.

Hopes were raised that the row could be resolved, as it was revealed that 80 SIPTU members at a hospital for the elderly in Donnybrook will begin an all-out strike today.

The industrial action at The Royal Hospital, Donnybrook, which is funded by the HSE and Department of Health, is being taken after the union claimed jobs were outsourced.

SIPTU said a laundry operator and a porter at the hospital lost their jobs. Talks at the Labour Relations Commission to resolve the row failed yesterday.

Meanwhile, the threat of a strike at the Mater Private Hospital remains as unions have not agreed to suspend a strike from Monday to attend today's talks.

A spokesperson at the hospital said it still plans to implement contingency measures.

This could mean cancellations for patients, including some in need of open heart surgery. Only emergency surgery is due to go ahead at the hospital that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is attending for cancer treatment.

A patient, due to have open-heart surgery this week, has already had their operation cancelled because of the threat to their post-operative care due to the potential strike.


If the strike goes ahead, many out-patient clinics will have to be cancelled and consultants who rent suites in the hospital will have their services curtailed.

Hospital chief executive, Fergus Clancy, confirmed it had accepted the invitation.

'I am pleased that the process has moved forward and I hope that the dialogue will be constructive in the everyone's best interests," he said.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and SIPTU said they would attend talks at the Labour Relations Commission today to resolve the dispute.

Irish Independent

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