Hospital strikes called off as talks resume at Workplace Relations Commission

Hospital strikes called off as talks resume at Workplace Relations Commission

A PLANNED strike tomorrow by more than 1,000 healthcare workers across Cork was called off to allow for more talks with the HSE.

SIPTU representatives confirmed this evening that their 24-hour workplace stoppage planned for tomorrow was being deferred pending the outcome of emergency talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.

More than 7,000 staff nationwide, including porters, healthcare assistants, hospital chefs and other support staff were due to go on strike across Ireland.

They are seeking pay increases that would cost the health service around €21 million.

Of the 750 support staff in Cork University Hospital, 94% recently voted for industrial action up to 24 hours and for possible strike action.

The implementation of a job evaluation scheme is at the centre of the dispute.

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said: "The strike action scheduled for tomorrow is now deferred at the request of the Workplace Relations Commission. Discussions on the implementation of the job evaluation scheme for SIPTU members in the health service will commence."

Mr Bell said that preparations for strike action on next Tuesday, 25 June, and Wednesday, 26 June, will continue.

Before the strike was called off, Dr Conor Deasy, consultant at Cork University Hospital, had warned of significant delays for patients in emergency departments today as a result of the strike action.

“We rely on porters to bring patients to x rays, scans and wards amongst other things; we rely on healthcare assistants to help feed and toilet vulnerable patients who may have delirium or dementia; and we rely on household staff to keep clinical areas clean," he had said.

HSE Deputy Director General of Operations Anne O'Connor said she was very concerned about the fact that SIPTU had scheduled five further strike days if this dispute is not resolved.

Ms O'Connor also noted that patient safety was a priority which was why they were cancelling so many appointments.

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