A three day strike by health care support staff at Tullamore hospital this week was deferred following intervention of the Labour Court.
The strike was due to take place at 38 hospitals around the country including Tullamore, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week but was deferred pending a full Labour Court hearing.
Up to 90 health care support staff including, cleaners, chefs, porters, phlebotomy staff, instrument technicians, laboratory staff and healthcare assistants were on the picket line at 8am last Wednesday morning in Tullamore and working in shifts continued the strike until 6pm.
“In the last public pay agreement we were all promised a job evaluation scheme through which staff would have the opportunity to have their roles evaluated.
None of the staff standing here today have had a pay rise in over 10 years,” said SIPTU shop steward Toni Cunningham.
“We went into the public pay agreement in good faith but unfortunately the government has decided to renege on that deal and so hence we are here today.”
Giving an example Toni commented , “Our chefs were never graded appropriately our health care assistants all have level 5 and level 6 standard, our job has evolved, even cleaners, caters porters, they are all qualified to a high standard. We haven’t received appropriate rate pay as well. We are disappointed with the government,” she said.
Toni said emergency cover was being provided at the hospital and an emergency response room had been set up and was staffed if the need arose.
“We don’t like to be here today, this is the card we have been dealt,” she concluded.
There was significant disruption to patients at Tullamore and other hospitals around the country during the strike. There were deferrals of some elective inpatient procedures, reduction of scope procedures and reduced operating theatre activity.
The HSE said “Patient catering needs were met in line with contingency arrangements agreed at local level. The Emergency Departments remained open throughout the strike.