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Breathnach says planned strike by hospital support staff must be avoided

Breathnach says planned strike by hospital support staff must be avoided

Local TD Declan Breathnach has called on the Ministers for Health and Finance to engage with SIPTU representatives in an effort to avoid a 24-hour strike planned by 10,000 health support staff next week.

Staff at the Louth County Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital are among those who will take part in the work stoppage on Thursday next June 20th.

The Fianna Fáil TD said everything possible must be done to avoid the strike going ahead.

He said: “It is paramount that this strike action is avoided. The Minister’s must work with SIPTU representatives to address the issues.

“This comes on top of the already crisis situation regarding the shortage of ambulance vehicles and staff in the North East. In addition, ambulance members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association have planned a series of 24 hour strikes.

“Already this year we’ve seen 35,000 Irish nurses and midwives take industrial action and the effects of that left the entire hospital network reeling. If the 10,000 health support staff go through with their strike action, 38 hospitals across Ireland will be under immense pressure to deliver services for their patients.

“At the nub of the issue is the Government’s commitment to carry out a job evaluation scheme for health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, and surgical instrument technicians as well as chefs, porters and household and catering employees.

“During negotiations on the last Public Service Stability Agreement the Government agreed to carry out job evaluations to ascertain where and how job roles had changed and if remuneration should be increased to match any changes.

“The Government must adhere to their side of the bargain or risk jeopardising further negotiations with trade union representatives.

“Health support staff are pivotal, they are the backbone of our hospital networks and keep the wheels turning, their importance can’t be underestimated, and the Government can’t take them for granted”, concluded Deputy Breathnach.