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Unions Secure Commitment On Employment In The Health Service. 02/07/09
Irish Nurses Organisation & SIPTU Press Release

Trade Union leaders in the Health Service today received assurances that:

  • there would be no compulsory redundancies for permanent employees and· 
  • temporary employees, with more than 12 months service, will not have their contract terminated, in this latest reconfiguration of services;  

according to Matt Merrigan (SIPTU) and David Hughes (INO).
 
Additionally the HSE confirmed that; up to 1,000 new permanent jobs are to be created in Hospitals, Community, Maternity, Disability and Mental Health Services in the coming year.
 
The down side to these announcements, according to the Union leaders, is the mechanism proposed to pay for these new posts. The HSE are proposing to cease all contracts of temporary employees who have served less than one year, prior to next renewal date for the contracts. This morning, at the meeting the Unions have secured commitments to:    
 

  • local consultation in advance of the termination of any such contracts; and    
  • where the cessation of such a contract would lead to a diminution in patient care, the cessation would not proceed unless a replacement from within existing staff can be agreed. 

The new posts announced today will be front line service posts for new developments. The Trade Union group, while generally welcoming these appointments, raised serious concerns at the continual deterioration of existing services resulting from bed closures and other budgetary constraints.
 
INO Deputy General Secretary, David Hughes, said after this meeting:
 
“There are currently 600 beds closed across our Hospitals nationwide. Additionally, 6 Theatres are closed and the impact of these closures has manifested itself in a 36% increase in the number of patients waiting in A&E Departments in the Eastern Area compared with the same month last year. Nationwide, the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys in A&E Departments has risen by 29%. Unfortunately, the new developments will have no impact at all on this deteriorating situation and this needs to be addressed urgently.”
 
Mr. Matt Merrigan, SIPTU’s National Health Official, warned that “many of the short term temporary staff are filling critical roles in healthcare support and catering functions which simply cannot be dispensed with; and he said SIPTU Officials will critically analyse every contract put forward for cessation.
 
The two Unions will now brief their local Officials on future engagement with regional and local HSE Management. They said their objective in these discussions will be to retain all staff necessary for the provision of safe patient care. They called on government to engage with the HSE to ensure that the existing bed closures will not be allowed continue into the winter as they say such a continuation will have a catastrophic impact on the Public Health Service and those suffering illness or disability in the Community.
 
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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie