September 17, 2019
News

Kilkenny patients face serious disruption as hospital staff serve strike notice

By COLIN BARTLEY

KILKENNY patients face serious disruption at St Luke’s General Hospital later this month after the health service was served with a new 24-hour strike notice.

SIPTU, the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union has notified the Health Services Executive of a national day of strike action planned for Thursday, June 20.

St Luke’s is among 38 hospitals and health care facilities affected, with up to 10,000 health support staff planning to the streets across the country.

This dispute comes at a time when numbers on trolleys in St Luke’s have fallen by 37% month on month. This week just four patients were recorded as waiting on trolleys in St Luke’s hospital, with zero patients recorded either yesterday or today.

Further strike action has not been ruled out, with SIPTU warning that further stoppages could occur on 25 and 26 June and on 2, 3 and 4 July, unless meaningful negotiations take place between the union and the Health Services Executive (HSE).

The action will affect maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, surgical instrument technicians, also services such as portering, household, chefs and catering services.

The cause of the strike is a row over a job evaluation scheme for the grades in the healthcare system. The scheme assesses whether employees roles’ in the health care system have changed and whether pay rises are warranted on the back of this.

SIPTU has accused the Government of reneging on commitments to increase pay in line with the scheme, in some cases by as much as €3,000.

The Government claims it agreed to negotiate terms in the last Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA), and has referred the scheme to the PSSA Oversight Group. However, SIPTU has not signed up to this.

SIPTU Deputy General Secretary for the Public Sector, John King, has called on Health Minister Simon Harris and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to intervene to avoid piling more pressure on our health services.

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