Siptu says hospital strikes likely this summer after pay talks end

Healthcare assistants, health service support staff and chefs seeking 5% pay increases

The trade union Siptu, which represents the health staff concerned, is holding talks on the claims on Thursday with health service management and officials of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. File photograph: Reuters

The trade union Siptu, which represents the health staff concerned, is holding talks on the claims on Thursday with health service management and officials of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. File photograph: Reuters

 

Siptu has said it anticipates that there will be a series of strikes in hospitals in the summer after talks over pay for healthcare assistants and chefs ended unsuccessfully.

The union said public service management did not provide any date for implementing increases for both groups on foot of reviews.

More than 7,000 healthcare assistants, health service support staff and chefs are seeking pay increases of about €21 million.

The trade union Siptu, which represents the health staff concerned, held talks on the claims on Thursday with health service management and officials of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Siptu said last week it would ballot health care assistants and chefs working in the health service for strike action later this month if no progress was made.

Siptu health division organizer Paul Bell said an official review of the work of healthcare assistants had found they had been underpaid for about a decade and that they should receive a pay rise.

He said the increases involved ranged from €1,600 to € 3,200 per year.

He said the union was seeking the Government to set out a date for implementation of the pay rises which, he maintained should have been paid last October.

He said about 1,000 chefs were seeking, following a separate process, to move onto a higher-paid scale that was more appropriate to their duties.

Mr Bell said chefs had been waiting for movement in their increase since 2017.

“The Government has adopted a position that basically says that no payments will be made to our members, now or into the future.”

He said Siptu had challenged this position as the reviews came within the scope of the current public service agreement.

Mr Bell said ambulance staff were due a five per cent pay rise dating backing to the public service benchmarking process in 2008.

“The issue we have is that we cannot get a conversation with the employer on when they intend to make good on that payment.”