Galway hospital support workers to strike in jobs dispute

Galway Daily news SIPTU members going on strike at LISK plant in Gort

Hospital support workers in SIPTU have served notice that they will strike this month in a jobs evaluation dispute with the government.

Medical and non medical support staff at Portiuncula Hospital, University Hospital Galway, and Merlin Park Hospital will engage in a 24 hour strike on Thursday, June 20.

This action will involved around 10,000 hospital staff in 38 hospitals working in portering, household and catering services and employed as Health Care Assistants, Maternity Care Assistants, Laboratory Aides, Chefs and Surgical Instrument Technicians.

The union has also warned that this 24 hour work stoppage could be followed by five more days of strike action this summer if their dispute is not resolved.

This dispute centres around the alleged failure of the government to implement the results of a jobs evaluations scheme that would have led to pay increases for many of the union’s members of between €1,600 and €3,200 a year.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser Paul Bell said “The ball is now in the court of the Government. The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, has a small three week window to resolve this dispute or face the consequences.”

“Our members voted overwhelmingly by 95% in favour of taking strike action. They will not back down until they win this campaign for pay justice.”

“Our members accepted the provisions of all the public service agreements since 2010. The Government must now honour its obligations contained within these agreements.

“It is time to deliver for these workers.  It is unacceptable that workers should be forced to go into an official dispute in order to get what they are owed.”

According to the union an independent jobs evaluation carried out as part of the Landsdowne road agreement found that healthcare support workers have been underpaid for years.

Siptu has also said that people working as chefs are also taking action as they co-operated with a similar independent review process of their pay grades “and in recent weeks have had their hopes of achieving pay justice dashed.”