Proposed strike by health staff could affect 40 hospitals

Siptu seeking new job evaluation scheme for healthcare assistants, home helps

Siptu plans to ballot healthcare assistants, radiographers, home helps and other grades in a fortnight. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill

Siptu plans to ballot healthcare assistants, radiographers, home helps and other grades in a fortnight. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill


Proposed industrial action by health services support staff could affect 40 hospitals across the country, the trade union Siptu has said.

Siptu plans to ballot healthcare assistants, radiographers, home helps and other grades on a variety of pay issues in a fortnight.

The union is seeking access for up to 12,000 home helps and healthcare assistants to a job evaluation scheme and believes the outcome of this process will result in many staff being paid more.

Under such job evaluations, if a person’s role, workload or responsibility is found to have expanded, they could qualify for an upgrade involving a pay rise. However it is understood the Government is concerned the move could have significant financial implications .

Siptu members who work in hospital emergency departments are also seeking similar concessions to those obtained last year by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation after it threatened industrial action. These included promotions, additional leave and a €1,500 education bursary.

The ballot of support staff is due to start on January 23rd and Siptu at the weekend set out details of the hospitals and health facilities concerned.

Issues of concern

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “The failure of the HSE and Department of Health to resolve a number of issues has led to a situation where our members have been forced to contemplate strike action.

“These issues include a failure by management to adhere to the fully binding provisions of the Lansdowne Road agreement and Haddington Road agreement. The most crucial elements that have not be adhered to include to reintroduce a job evaluation scheme, to pay interns or apply incremental credit and double time payments.

“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 there was ample time before the scheduled ballot on January 23rd for the HSE and Department of Health “to address all the outstanding issues of concern for our members, something they have failed to do over the preceding 15 months”.

It is understood that in a letter to Siptu last week the Minister for Health Simon Harris called for dialogue to resolve the outstanding issues.

Siptu said this week, however, that this had not “ led to any genuine action by either the HSE or Department of Health”.

The hospitals and health facilities where Siptu support staff members will be balloted are:

Connolly Hospital, Dublin

Central Mental Hospital, Dublin

Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin

Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin

National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dublin

Royal Hospital, Donnybrook, Dublin

Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital of Ireland, Dublin

Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dublin

Central Remedial Clinic, Dublin

Killarney Community Hospital, Kerry

Tallaght Hospital, Dublin

Beaumont Hospital, Dublin

St James’s Hospital, Dublin

Mater Hospital, Dublin

St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin

Cavan General Hospital

Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar

Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise

Dublin Dental University Hospital, Dublin

Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services, Dublin

St Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, Dublin

South Tipperary General Hospital

St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny

Wexford General Hospital

Cork University Hospital

Cork University Maternity Hospital

Bantry General Hospital

Mercy University Hospital, Cork

University Hospital Kerry

Letterkenny University Hospital

Sligo University Hospital

University Hospital Limerick

University Hospital Galway

Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway

Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore

Naas General Hospital

St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda

Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan

Louth County Hospital, Dundalk