Staff at Sligo and Cavan Hospitals to be balloted for strike action

Leonie McKiernan

Reporter:

Leonie McKiernan

SIPTU to ballot health workers in January for strike action

SIPTU members working as support staff in Cavan General Hospital and Sligo University Hospital will be among staff at least 40 hospitals across the country balloting for strike action on Monday, January 23.

The action arises from a dispute claiming breaches of the national public service agreements and the exclusion of SIPTU members from concessions provided to other emergency department staff.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “It is deeply regrettable that our members in these hospitals feel compelled to take this action. The hospitals to be balloted have been selected due to our members’ belief that the issues in dispute are particularly acute in these facilities. It is expected that additional hospitals will be added to this initial list of facilities to be balloted.

“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 been adhered to include the reintroduce of 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.”

The balloting process will commence on January 23 with the result scheduled to be announced on Monday, February 13.

SIPTU has directly communicated their concerns to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris. In response the Minister has called for dialogue to resolve the outstanding problems but Mr Bell said this has not led to any genuine action by either the HSE or Department of Health.

“In the result of strike action our members will do everything in their power to ensure that the disruption for the public is minimalised," he stressed.