Strike by health support staff to go ahead

WRC talks end without agreement
  • Deborah Condon

A strike by health support staff is set to go ahead on Wednesday (June 26) after talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ended without agreement.

The strike was due to take place last week, but was deferred pending the outcome of emergency talks at the WRC. However, according to SIPTU health divisional organiser, Paul Bell, ‘we have run out of time and too many issues remain unsolved'.

The dispute centres on pay, with SIPTU insisting that its members are due a pay rise as part of a job evaluation scheme.

Almost 40 hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide will be affected. The staff involved carry out a range of support services, including transporting patients around hospitals and administration.

"SIPTU members have acted in good faith at all times during this dispute, including by deferring two days of strike action. We believe that the Government has abused the conciliation process and never meaningfully engaged with SIPTU representatives.

"Some €16.2 million is owed to our members, yet the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has only offered €1.2 million to resolve this dispute," Mr Bell insisted.

The HSE said that it regrets the industrial action and is engaging on contingency planning with SIPTU at local hospital and healthcare facility level.

The impact on services will include:
-Deferral of some elective inpatient procedures
-Significant cancellation of scope procedures
-Reduced outpatient services
-Reduced catering services for patients and staff.

The services impacted will vary in different hospitals.

The HSE said that patients are being contacted by their local hospital or healthcare facility if their procedure or service will be affected.

The strike is set to begin at 8am on Wednesday.


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