Row over shorter week for health staff to be referred to oversight body

Unions claims HSE in breach of Haddington Road agreement

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 18:40

Plans by health service management to end arrangements which allowed staff to continue to work the shorter week that applied prior to the Haddington Road agreement in return for a pro rata pay cut are to be referred to the central body overseeing the implementation of the deal.

Trade unions today raised concerns about the move by the HSE with the local oversight body for the health sector.

However Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said the issue of the shorter working week was now a matter for the central oversight body as it affected the entire Haddington Road agreement.

The HSE last week said “ the concession” of allowing staff to work the shorter pre-Haddington Road hours was no longer viable and that it would be withdrawn from the beginning of January.

It said that the provision to allow staff to work the shorter week had been “an exceptional measure” which had been put in place for a period.

Health service trade unions last week said the HSE was in direct breach of the Haddington Road agreement.

Unions said they would be instructing members that they were not required to co-operate with this HSE plan.

The HSE also said it would be putting in place a targeted voluntary redundancy programme from the beginning of January.

Speaking after the meeting today Mr Bell said that it was very clear that this approach was to be used as a last reort.