Hospital support staff to strike over pay dispute
Nurses are already scheduled to begin industrial action on March 7th
The strike by hospital support staff is scheduled to begin on the same day that more than 30,000 nurses are due to commence industrial action in a separate dispute.
Thousands of hospital support staff are to go on strike in early March in a dispute over pay.
Healthcare assistants, porters, cleaners and security personnel in hospitals, who are represented by Siptu, voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a ballot.
The strike by hospital support staff is scheduled to begin on March 7th, the same day that more than 30,000 nurses are due to commence industrial action in a separate dispute over recruitment and retention of staff.
The dispute involving hospital support staff is over access to a job evaluation scheme, under which staff whose role is found to have expanded could be in line for higher pay.
Siptu members working in hospital emergency departments are also seeking similar concessions to those secured by nurses in deal reached with the Government a year ago in an effort to avoid a strike.
This agreement involved additional leave, promotions and a €1,500 education bursary.
Hospital support staff in 39 locations across the country voted in favour of strike action by 94 per cent.
It is expected the hospital support staff will stop work for several hours at a time as part of the industrial action.
Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “The response from our members is clear and emphatic. The size of the vote in favour of strike action undoubtedly demonstrates our members’ anger with the HSE and Department of Health due to their failure to give them the fair and equal treatment they demand.”
“These issues include a failure by management to adhere to the fully binding provisions of the Lansdowne Road and Haddington Road agreements.
“The most crucial elements that have not been adhered to include the reintroduction of a job evaluation scheme and the application of incremental credit to interns.”
“The other central issue in this dispute involves the granting of concessions by the HSE and the Department of Health to nurses working in emergency departments which have not been extended to other workers.”
Mr Bell said it was never the intention of the union’s members to engage in a strike which would obviously put additional pressure on the health service.
“However, after 15 months of management obstruction and intransigence, our members have been left with no option but to commence strike action. This will begin with the full the withdrawal of labour, for a number of hours each day, on March 7th.
“This strategy is our members’ preferred option to reduce the impact on the public. We have three weeks to the expiry date of the strike notice so there remains ample opportunity for the issues in dispute to be resolved.
“However, for this to occur there needs to be a change in attitude and approach from management.”