01 May 2009
To: Branch/Section Officers/Nurse/Midwife Reps/Hospital Committees
Attention All INO Members
I refer to previous news updates in relation to health service cutbacks and the recruitment embargo recently announced by the government.
The INO, together with the other major health service unions, met, again, with senior management of the Health Service Executive, earlier today (Friday, 1st May 2009), to continue discussions/negotiations with regard to the proposed recruitment embargo and other matters.
As a result of these discussions, which will continue with a further meeting on Wednesday, 13th May 2009, I wish to update you on the following:
1. Payment of Acting Up Allowances
The HSE management confirmed that existing arrangements, with regard to the payment of acting up allowances, will continue for as long as the rationale, for the acting up, remains in place.
In a situation where it is proposed to withdraw the acting up allowance, from any individual, such a proposal will be the subject of discussion, with that individual and his/her trade union, prior to any withdrawal.
In situations, into the future, where a requirement for the payment of an acting up allowance arises this will be the subject of a joint review, involving management and unions, with the HSE approaching such discussions in the context of the acting up allowance being paid in emergency situations.
2. Voluntary Hospitals/Nominated Health Agency
The HSE confirmed that they will be communicating with these agencies, regarding the public service embargo, but it is now recognised that staff, employed by these agencies, are not direct employees of the HSE.
3. Temporary Employees
The continued employment of all temporary employees, upon completion of their existing contracts, remains the subject of further discussions, and the situation is not yet clarified to the union’s satisfaction.
All unions are insisting that all temporary employees are filling essential vacancies and must, therefore, have their employment continued thus giving them some level of guarantee and removing the current uncertainty.
The HSE, in responding, have acknowledged that they must do further work in this area and that they hope to have a revised position, on this particularly critical issue, when we meet again on Wednesday, 13th May 2009.
In the interim the health service unions have collectively said that all current temporary employees must be retained in employment until this matter is finalised.
Agreed Union Directive To Members
In the context of how all health service staff, through their unions, should respond to the current situation, health service unions have now almost finalised an agreed directive which will be issued, in the coming days, by individual unions to all of their members.
The INO will finalise this directive and formally launch it on next Thursday, 7th May 2009, during our annual delegate conference in Killarney, Co. Kerry.
This directive will be issued to all members immediately thereafter and also circulated to branch officers/nurse/midwife representatives and, in addition, posted on the INO website (www.inmo.ie).
While recognising that very significant issues remain it should be said that some progress is being made, in our continuing discussions with the HSE, regarding minimising the impact of any recruitment embargo upon frontline services.
It is the INO’s intention, together with other health service unions, to arrive at a situation where we will:
through an agreement which protects frontline services but ensures the most efficient and effective use of resources possible.
This whole area will be the subject of detailed discussion, at our annual delegate conference next week, at which it is expected further decisions will be taken and these will be communicated, to the whole Organisation, immediately thereafter.
As always thank you for your continued work and effort on behalf of the Organisation and please circulate/display this news update throughout your workplace.
May I close by wishing you, your colleagues and your family, a very pleasant bank holiday weekend.