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HSE Defy Direction From Croke Park Implementation Body - 29.03.11

PRESS RELEASE,  Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


The Labour Relations Commission confirmed today that they have been unable to get confirmation from the HSE regarding arrangements for a crisis conciliation conference on the current dispute regarding agency workers, according to the INMO.  The Commission had been asked to intervene in the dispute between Health Service Unions and the HSE, relating to exclusive contracts issued for the provision of staff through two specific agencies, on the advice of the National Implementation Body established under the Croke Park Agreement.  

The Implementation Body reiterated its previous advice on the importance of management complying with its obligations on consultation, as set out in the Agreement.  It advised the parties that “the assistance of the Labour Relations Commission should be sought in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement leading to an immediate engagement between the parties on matters arising from the implementation of the contract in question, with a view to resolution in the shortest possible time.”  

According to INMO, Cork University Maternity Hospital, General Hospitals in the West, Midlands and North-east who have had a heavy dependency on agency nurses and midwives, are most severely affected and have had to cancel services.  

Liam Doran, INMO General Secretary said: “The HSE called for tenders from Agencies who were prepared to supply nurses, midwives and other workers on lower rates of pay.  The successful Agencies made an agreement to pay those lower rates and entered into a contract with the HSE without consulting the nurses, midwives and other workers who were on their books.  In the case of nurses and midwives, two Agencies got the contracts, one for the West of Ireland and the other for the rest of the country, including Dublin.  Effectively these Agencies now hold the monopoly for the provision of Agency workers to all Public Health facilities.  Many such workers have remained unavailable for assignment under the new lower rates.  The hospitals that had been using Agency staff to compensate for the loss of personnel through the Public Service moratorium on recruitment are most affected and are at this point under serious pressure.” 

Mr. Doran went on to say that a refusal by HSE to agree an early date, amounted to “a blatant disregard for the authority of the National Implementation Body.”

He said Trade Unions are willing to engage on all matters relating to the Agency contract including the rates of pay and clear criteria for the use of agency staff, in the wake of fears that the HSE are attempting to sub-contract the employment of staff, particularly temporary positions.

Liam Doran
General Secretary

  Agency Midwives
protesting at Cork University Maternity Hospital yesterday.
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