Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson for Health Stephen Donnelly has called on the Ministers for Health and Finance to liaise with SIPTU representatives in an effort to avoid a 24-hour strike planned by 10,000 health support staff.
SIPTU have announced that strike action will take place on Thursday, June 20, but have not ruled out further disruptions, stating that strike action will also take place on 25 and 26 June and 2, 3 and 4 July if the HSE don’t enter meaningful negotiations.
With 35,000 Irish nurses and midwives having already took to the picket line this year, Donnelly stressed that is pivotal we avoid strike action that could cause further disruption in hospitals nationwide.
““It is paramount that this strike action is avoided. There are 15 days between now and planned day of action on the 20th of June, and the Minister’s must work with SIPTU representatives to address the issues.
“Already this year we’ve seen 35,000 Irish nurses and midwives take industrial action and the effects of that left the entire hospital network reeling. If the 10,000 health support staff go through with their strike action, 38 hospitals across Ireland will be under immense pressure to deliver services for their patients,” said Donnelly.
Donnelly emphasised that the government must keep to their side of the bargain to prevent a breakdown of negotiations and further strike dates.
“At the nub of the issue is the Government’s commitment to carry out a job evaluation scheme for health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, and surgical instrument technicians as well as chefs, porters and household and catering employees.
“During negotiations on the last Public Service Stability Agreement the Government agreed to carry out job evaluations to ascertain where and how job roles had changed and if remuneration should be increased to match any changes.
“The Government must adhere to their side of the bargain or risk jeopardising further negotiations with trade union representatives,” added Donnelly.
The Fianna Fáil TD mentioned the importance of health staff, stating the government cannot underestimate this importance.
“Health support staff are pivotal, they are the backbone of our hospital networks and keep the wheels turning, their importance can’t be underestimated, and the Government can’t take them for granted,” concluded Donnelly.