Siptu to attend WRC talks aimed at averting hospital workers’ strike

Up to 10,000 hospital workers set to strike on June 20th following dispute with the HSE

The action will involve, among others, laboratory aides and surgical instrument technicians. File photograph: Getty

The action will involve, among others, laboratory aides and surgical instrument technicians. File photograph: Getty

 

Siptu health representatives have accepted an invitation to attend talks at the Workplace Relations Commission on Thursday to discuss the dispute around job evaluation ahead of the scheduled strike action next week.

Up to 10,000 hospital workers are set to strike on June 20th following a dispute with the Health Service Executive over an alleged failure to implement pay increases arising from a job evaluation scheme. Siptu warned last week that hospital workers would continue to strike on five further dates if negotiations were not undertaken by the HSE.

These are June 25th and 26th and July 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

The action will involve Siptu members who provide portering, household and catering services and those employed as healthcare assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs and surgical instrument technicians.

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said Thursday afternoon’s exploratory talks would provide an opportunity to “restate our members’ position that the Government must make every effort to resolve this dispute . . . Failure to resolve this dispute will undoubtedly bring pressures on the delivery of health services.”

The workers are seeking pay increases adding up to about €20 million, breaking down to increases for the staff concerned ranging from €1,600 to €3,200 a year. Siptu has previously argued that a review of the work of healthcare assistants under schemes established by the Lansdowne Road agreement in 2015 had found they had been underpaid for a decade.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said last week that the matter had been referred to the Public Service Stability Agreement Oversight Group. However, union leaders have expressed scepticism about the oversight group’s capacity to resolve the issue, with Siptu accusing the Government of “misusing” the body.