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Further strikes from healthcare support workers across Cork and Ireland depend on the outcome of Labour Court talks scheduled for Monday, July 22.

SIPTU Health representatives have accepted an invitation to attend the hearing to discuss the dispute involving 10,000 health service workers over the implementation of a job evaluation scheme.

The talks come after around 1,000 healthcare workers across Cork took part in a 24-hour strike at the end of June.

Three consecutive days of action scheduled were scheduled for recent weeks but were deferred by SIPTU to allow for Labour Court hearings.

“We have accepted the invitation from the Labour Court to attend further discussions in order to resolve the dispute involving our members over the implementation of the job evaluation scheme,” said SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell.

“Further strike action remains deferred pending the outcome of these talks,” he added.

Almost 10,000 staff, including healthcare assistants, hospital chefs and other health service support staff, across Ireland went on strike last month as they seek pay increases of about €21 million.

Patients in Cork saw appointments cancelled and services disrupted as thousands of healthcare support staff went on strike in the region, and the HSE admitted that the action had a huge impact on patient services and care.

Thirty eight hospitals and healthcare facilities were affected by the industrial action and almost 40 patients at the Mercy University Hospital saw their appointments cancelled.

Dr Conor Deasy, consultant at Cork University Hospital, had warned that the strike would cause delays in Emergency Departments across Ireland, as hospitals and other settings rely on a wide range of health support staff.

The HSE also acknowledged that “the situation in all sites was challenging because of the range of essential services affected” by the action.

As well as facing challenges in maintaining essential daily care for inpatients such as nutrition, hydration, transfer of patients, cleaning and infection control, the HSE admitted that there was a “significant number of appointment and procedure cancellations including surgical procedures, scope procedures, and outpatient appointments”.