Staff at Mount Carmel hospital to go on strike over pay cuts

Mon, Mar 8, 2010, 00:00

STAFF AT Mount Carmel private hospital in Dublin are to go on strike later this month in a dispute over pay cuts.

On Friday unions representing staff at Aut Even private hospital in Kilkenny, part of the Mount Carmel group, served notice of strike action in a similar dispute over pay reductions.

Yesterday Impact, Siptu and the Medical Laboratory Scientists’ Association said their members would strike at Mount Carmel private hospital from Monday, March 22nd.

The unions said a lunchtime protest was planned for today between 12.30 and 2.00pm.

The three unions represent administrators, radiographers, scientific and support grade staff at the hospital. They said that as most of the procedures taking place in the hospital were elective or non-urgent, it was expected industrial action would cause disruption to services at the hospital, including pharmacy and laboratory services.

Impact official Dessie Robinson said talks with management over the hospital’s financial position had failed to reach a solution.

He said the hospital claimed that it has lost €7 million over the last three years.

“This is a private hospital, which is not covered by the legislation that cut public service pay.

“Although it claims to be making losses, we have seen no evidence of that.

“On the face of it, it seems more likely that, in line with Government and Ibec policy, management is exploiting the public service pay cuts to drive down incomes across the economy.

“There are industrial relations mechanisms in place if it is claiming inability to pay,” he said.

Mr Robinson said the unions were available at short notice to try to resolve the dispute.

The hospital provides maternity services as well as orthopaedic and eye and ear services.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and Siptu on Friday served notice for strike action in Aut Even private hospital which is also to start on March 22nd.

The unions said the action was as a result of a decision by management to cut pay without consultation or agreement.

The unions said they had tried to get management of the Mount Carmel Group and Aut Even hospital to enter into dialogue on the current financial position and to agree cost containment measures, if the need existed.

The Mount Carmel Group did not comment when approached by The Irish Times.