Health services in Cork, Dublin, and Galway are set to be particularly hit should Siptu members approve a proposed strike action announced by the union yesterday.
The union said its members working as support staff in the health service have begun preparations for one of two proposed ballots for strike action.
The support staff ballot is arising from a dispute with Department of Health and HSE over alleged breaches of the terms of Lansdowne Road and Haddington Road agreements. Siptu further stated that it will commence a ballot of emergency department workers in selected hospitals from next month.
“It is deeply regrettable that our members feel compelled to take this action,” said Siptu health division organiser, Paul Bell.
“The dispute involving support staff has been brought about by the HSE and Department refusing to implement fully binding provisions of the Lans-downe Road Agreement and Haddington Road Agreement.
“Our members overwhelmingly supported these agreements in good faith. They have been pushed to the brink by the refusal of the HSE and the Department to adhere to the agreements and reintroduce a job evaluation scheme, to pay interns, apply incremental credit and double time payments.”
He said Siptu members “encountered obstruction and confrontation in response to their attempts to secure the implementation of these key elements of the agreements.”
Mr Bell added that Siptu health representatives will also begin preparations to ballot members, including professional grades, in relation to a seperate dispute resulting from concessions made by the HSE and the department to nurses working in emergency departments that have not been extended to other workers.
“This ballot for strike action will involve all grades working in emergency departments and be conducted in selected hospitals throughout the country with a particular focus on facilities in Dublin, Cork, Galway and the Midlands,” said Mr Bell.
Siptu indicated that it will reveal the hospitals which will be affected by this ballot in the coming days.
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