Latest: Deferral of three-day strike 'good news' for patients

Latest: Deferral of three-day strike 'good news' for patients
Paul Bell, SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser

Update 5.08pm: The deferral of a three-day strike next week by 10,000 health service support staff is “good news” for patients, says Health Minister, Simon Harris.

Trade union, Siptu, said the industrial action has been suspended pending the outcome of a Labour Court hearing.

Mr Harris tweeted that it is “welcome news” that the Siptu strike planned for next week has been deferred and that a full Labour Court hearing will now take place.

“Good news for patients. Provides space and opportunity for resolution,” he wrote.

The union said strikes in 38 hospitals across the country planned for next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday have been deferred.

The court hearing on the implementation of a job evaluation scheme has been set for Wednesday, July 3.

Siptu health division organiser, Paul Bell, said the strike action was deferred at the request of the Labour Court to allow for a full hearing to take place with no preconditions.

“The unity and strength of our members on picket lines this week has demonstrated our determination to achieve a just resolution to this dispute,” said Mr Bell.

“Ultimately, our members will decide on the outcome of any recommendations that emerged from negotiations at the Labour Court, by way of a secret ballot.”

He added: “On behalf of our members, SIPTU representatives would also like to thank hospital patients and members of the public for the huge support shown to 10,000 health workers on picket lines this week and throughout the dispute.”

The Labour Court began a preliminary hearing on Friday in an attempt to divert next week's strike action. It comes after catering staff, porters, cleaners and technicians manned picket lines earlier this week.

The dispute emerged between workers and the HSE over what SIPTU claims is a failure to implement increases in pay for workers after a job evaluation scheme deemed the staff were underpaid.

The HSE said that more than 2,000 patients had appointments cancelled, including surgical procedures, scope procedures and outpatient appointments across 38 hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Earlier: Strike action by health workers deferred

Update 1.10pm by Vivienne Clarke: Three days of strikes by 10,000 health workers next week have been deferred at the request of the Labour Court.

Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy

SIPTU representatives confirmed this afternoon that strikes planned in 38 selected hospitals for next week have been deferred.

The decision was made pending the outcome of a full Labour Court hearing next Wednesday on the implementation of a job evaluation scheme.

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “At the request of the Labour Court, SIPTU representatives have agreed to defer strike action scheduled to start next Tuesday to allow for a full hearing to take place with no preconditions.

The unity and strength of our members on picket lines this week has demonstrated our determination to achieve a just resolution to this dispute.

"Ultimately, our members will decide on the outcome of any recommendations that emerge from negotiations at the Labour Court, by way of a secret ballot.”

“On behalf of our members, SIPTU representatives would also like to thank hospital patients and members of the public for the huge support shown to 10,000 health workers on picket lines this week and throughout this dispute.”

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy welcomed SIPTU’s plan to withdraw strike notice for three days next week during discussions at the Labour Court.

He told RTÉ Radio’s News at One that the news “sounded like a positive development” and was good news for patients.

When asked about the possibility of the Department of Public Expenditure paying the increased wages following evaluations, he said that would put increased pressure on public spending.

This money was not the Government’s money, he said.

“It is the taxpayers’ money. It is not a bottomless pit.”

Picture: Provision
Picture: Provision

SIPTU 'conscious' that three-day dispute in health service will be 'devastating'

Update 12.20pm: SIPTU says the government has broken a number of agreements with health workers.

Both sides are attending a hearing at the Labour Court after no progress was made in talks yesterday.

10,000 support staff are due to go on strike for three days next week if no resolution can be found in the dispute.

SIPTU's Paul Bell explained some of their priorities going into today's hearing.

"We are trying to make sure that we come out of this with a settlement that is acceptable to our members

"We are also trying to concentrate on minimising the impact on patients.

"We are very conscious of the fact, as are our members, that a three-day dispute in the health service will be very devastating."

- Digital desk

Talks on health workers' dispute to go to Labour Court

Update 7am: All sides involved in the health workers' dispute will go to the Labour Court this morning.

The HSE and Siptu failed to reach an agreement yesterday in talks with the Workplace Relations Commission.

10,000 health support staff are involved in a row over pay.

A preliminary hearing will take place in the Labour Court this morning to try to resolve the dispute.

Picture: Collins
Picture: Collins

But Siptu's Paul Bell says next week's three-day strike has not been called off.

Mr Bell told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland that the process had been “torturous” and that while all issues had been discussed, it had been obvious there would be no agreement.

“There was minimal movement.”

The dispute centres on a job evaluation scheme, which the Government agreed to carry out during negotiations on the last Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA).

The job evaluations were to examine whether roles have changed and whether pay rises are warranted.

Affected grades include health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs, and surgical instrument technicians, as well as workers in portering, household and catering services.

Mr Bell said the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was “set against” some key elements of the agreement including the interpretation of the job evaluation agreement.

He said that the union will listen to what the Labour Court has to say, but that in the meantime the plan is still in place to go ahead with three days of strikes next week.

- Additional reporting by Digital Desk

More on this topic

Workers to strike at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport over pay disputeWorkers to strike at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport over pay dispute

Heathrow Airport strike talks adjournedHeathrow Airport strike talks adjourned

Psych nurses strike will have 'significant impact' on vulnerable patients, warns HSEPsych nurses strike will have 'significant impact' on vulnerable patients, warns HSE

Labour Court hearing underway to solve health workers disputeLabour Court hearing underway to solve health workers dispute

More in this Section

Recently uncovered love letter reveals director's 'schoolboy crush' on Maureen O'HaraRecently uncovered love letter reveals director's 'schoolboy crush' on Maureen O'Hara

Over 7,500 children waiting more than a year for occupational therapy assessmentOver 7,500 children waiting more than a year for occupational therapy assessment

Service commemorates British Army’s deployment in Northern IrelandService commemorates British Army’s deployment in Northern Ireland

Funeral of Roy Keane's father Mossie hears he 'was very proud of all his children'Funeral of Roy Keane's father Mossie hears he 'was very proud of all his children'


Lifestyle

Incarcerated in Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps Zuzana Ruzickova somehow survived and went on to create the complete recordings of her beloved Bach, writes James Lawless.Book review: Nazi horrors replaced by brutal Soviets for piano player

The Menu was delighted to make recent mention of a new UCC postgraduate diploma in Irish food culture and is equally pleased to announce availability of two new bursaries for same.The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

George Orwell’s classic novel foretold a lot, but the manner in which we’ve handed over our personal data to faceless corporatocracies is doubleplus-ungood, says Suzanne Harrington.How we sleepwalked into George Orwell’s nightmarish vision

Esther N McCarthy has her eye (and ear) on party speakers for your BBQ, spots a rug that’s out of this world, and revels in all that’s on offer for Heritage Week and Cork Craft Month.Your interiors wish list: Party speakers, Heritage Week and Cork Craft Month

More From The Irish Examiner