Government agrees job evaluation scheme for health staff

HSE and Department of Health plan to unfold over next year in effort to avert strike

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “We have received formal confirmation . . .  that our claim for the reintroduction of a job evaluation scheme for health service support staff has been vindicated.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “We have received formal confirmation . . . that our claim for the reintroduction of a job evaluation scheme for health service support staff has been vindicated.” Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Health service management has agreed to put in place a new scheme to evaluate the roles of thousands of health service support staff in an attempt to avert a threatened strike next month.

If the existing roles of the staff concerned are considered to have expanded, they could be in line for higher pay next year.

Trade union Siptu said the planned strike, scheduled to commence on March 7th, would still go ahead unless two other grievances were addressed by health service management

The evaluation, which was agreed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health after the intervention of the oversight group for the Lansdowne Road public service agreement, is expected to take place over the next 12months. This means any pay increases granted on foot of the evaluation process would not take effect until 2018.

The staff involved include hospital porters, healthcare assistants and cleaners as well as home helps

Any decision to grant an upgrading could be costly for the Government as the evaluations will be conducted on a collective basis for grades of staff and not just for individuals.

However, the trade union Siptu said the planned strike, scheduled to commence on March 7th, would still go ahead unless two other grievances were addressed by health service management.

The union is seeking similar concessions for its members in emergency departments to those awarded to nurses a year ago, which included promotions, additional annual leave and the introduction of a €1,500 education bursary.

Staff interns

Another issue centres on the application of incremental credit for support staff interns for previous experience.

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “We have received formal confirmation from the chairwoman of the Lansdowne Road Agreement national oversight body that our claim for the reintroduction of a job evaluation scheme for health service support staff has been vindicated. It has now formally been given a green light by all members of the body to proceed.”

“Siptu representatives have commenced discussions with the HSE on the hospital sites earmarked for evaluation which will hopefully see our members secure due recognition for the roles they perform in the public health service.”

The union is seeking similar concessions for its members in emergency departments to those awarded to nurses a year ago

However, Mr Bell said a resolution of the two remaining issues for the union’s members working as support staff had to be secured if there was to be any possibility of the scheduled strike action in March being averted.

He said the issues still in dispute concerned the equal treatment of support staff interns, the lowest-paid workers in the service, and the need to apply emergency department concessions to all grades of staff.

The members of the Lansdowne Road Agreement national oversight body consist of representatives of the public service committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.