Planned strike by health service support staff averted

Stoppage had been scheduled for March 7th, same day as nurses’ industrial action

Agreement was reached with the HSE in a dispute over a job evaluation scheme and incremental credit for support staff interns. Photograph: Eric Luke

Agreement was reached with the HSE in a dispute over a job evaluation scheme and incremental credit for support staff interns. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

A planned strike by up to 10,000 health service support staff including porters, cleaners, security personnel and home helps, has been averted.

The strike had been scheduled to commence on March 7th, the same day as over 30,000 nurses are scheduled to start industrial action in a separate dispute over recruitment and retention.

The trade union Siptu on Friday said the strike action by health service support workers would not now go ahead after agreement was reached with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in a dispute over a job evaluation scheme and incremental credit for support staff interns.

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “We have made significant progress on the issue of job evaluation and this process will commence immediately. With regard to the issue of incremental credit for support staff interns it has been agreed that this matter will be considered in the context of the forthcoming public sector pay negotiations.”

With Labour Court

Mr Bell said Siptu had also sought concessions for its members in hospital emergency departments similar to those obtained last year by nurses after they threatened to go on strike such as additional leave, promotions and an educational bursary of €1,500. He said this issue would be returned to the Labour Court.

“Disappointingly, we were unable to make sufficient progress in our negotiations to secure the concessions granted to nursing staff, assigned to emergency departments in acute hospitals throughout the State, that in January 2015 were extended to all other health workers committed to working in the same tough environment.

“However, I believe that the decision to have this element of our dispute referred to the Labour Court for binding arbitration is the best way forward for all stakeholders, which includes the public, who would have been unavoidably disrupted by the proposed strike action.”

Meanwhile the industrial action by nurses is still set to go ahead from March 7th.