Union Sceptical Over HSE's Willingness To Resolve Industrial Action

Representatives of the IMPACT trade union are to meet senior Health Service Executive (HSE) officials on Monday to discuss ongoing industrial action in the health service.

However, the health service trade union are said to be deeply sceptical about the HSE's intentions for the meeting, which will be taking place in Dublin.

As a result of the dispute, around 28,000 IMPACT members are refusing to engage in certain tasks as part of their protest over ongoing job cuts in the health service.

The workers are refusing to do non-emergency overtime or to cover work and posts affected by the HSE's recent recruitment freeze.

But IMPACT says the HSE is also planning further job cuts in the Dublin and mid-Leinster regions and that this will have a serious effect on patient services and could prolong the current industrial action.

"We intend to be constructive in today's meeting. But health workers are bound to be sceptical about the prospects of an early resolution, not least because the HSE’s staffing restrictions remain in place [some] months after the Labour Court ruled they were in breach of Towards 2016.

"Meanwhile, management continues to plan further cuts in staff and services, which are hurting patients and communities. We need to see concrete action, and a genuine change in attitude from the HSE, to protect public health services and resolve this dispute," said IMPACT national secretary Kevin Callinan.

Mr Callinan said he would be seeking new HSE staffing policies and practices that ensure existing service provision as well as promised service improvements in areas like primary care, elder care, disability, and mental health services.

The union is also demanding that management honour over 40 existing agreements on working conditions, which are currently being breached, and an end to the substitution of permanent staff with costly agency workers.

According to the IMPACT website, internal documents leaked last week showed that the HSE is planning further cuts to save another €193million, on top of staff cuts that have seen over 2,700 vital health jobs disappear since last September. Substantial job cuts are also planned in Crumlin children’s hospital and the Dublin and Mid-Leinster community health services, and the union says it believes further cuts are now in the pipeline.

The HSE said last week that contrary to recent public statements by the IMPACT Union leadership, there is no embargo on recruitment in place within the public health service.


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