SIPTU health workers vote overwhelmingly for strike action

SIPTU members employed as health service support staff have voted by 94% to 6% in favour of taking strike action in selected hospitals from Tuesday, March 7, the union announced this afternoon.

The dispute concerning breaches of the national public service agreements and their exclusion from concessions provided to other emergency department workers, according to SIPTU.

The ballot of the over 10,000 SIPTU members was counted today.

SIPTU Health Division organiser, Paul Bell said: "The response from our members is clear and emphatic.

"The size of the vote in favour of strike action undoubtedly demonstrates our members’ anger with the Health Service Executive and Department of Health due to their failure to give them the fair and equal treatment they demand.

"These issues include a failure by management to adhere to the fully binding provisions of the Lansdowne Road and Haddington Road agreements.

"The most crucial elements that have not been adhered to include the reintroduction of a job evaluation scheme and the application of incremental credit to interns.

"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."

"It has never been our members’ desire to engage in strike action, which will obviously put additional pressures on the health service.

"However, after fifteen months of management obstruction and intransigence our members have been left with no option but to commence strike action.

"This will begin with the full the withdrawal of labour, for a number of hours each day, on March 7.”

The all-out strike involving over 10,000 health support staff workers will initially take place in 39 acute hospital facilities across the country.

Paul Bell said: "This strategy is our members’ preferred option to reduce the impact on the public. We have three weeks to the expiry date of the strike notice so there remains ample opportunity for the issues in dispute to be resolved.

"However, for this to occur there needs to be a change in attitude and approach from management."

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