Talks in health care dispute


THE Health Service Employers Association is to meet the trade union IMPACT on Thursday in an attempt to avert strike action next month by the State's paramedics.

More than 3,000 health professionals could be on strike from April 21st if their pay and restructuring claims under the Programme for Competitiveness and Work are not addressed.

About 600 personnel from the sector - which includes speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and childcare workers - attended a rally in support of their demands in Dublin's Abbey Theatre yesterday.

They are seeking to maintain, traditional pay links with nursing grades and also want a commission to review pay and job structures in the light of recent changes in the professions, in particular the upgrading of skills.

A spokesman said yesterday's rally reflected anger in the sector, at comments by the Minister for Finance characterising them as "greedy" for pursuing pay increases.