SIPTU meets with Minister for Health to discuss future of National Ambulance Service

SIPTU representatives met with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, today (Wednesday, 28th September) to discuss the implementation of the recommendations of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) Capacity Review which includes the employment of 600 new staff.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The meeting was constructive and we are optimistic that progress can be made to secure the long term future of the NAS. In a recent ballot, our members overwhelmingly backed the implementation of the recommendations of the Capacity Review and a number of other proposals which emerged from negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

“Our delegation also took the opportunity to outline our concerns on pay restoration, pay progression and pay justice. The Minister recognised pay justice as an issue which could be dealt with in an agreement to succeed the Lansdowne Road Agreement.”

He added: “We also raised the urgent need for a job evaluation mechanism for ambulance professionals. The Minister responded positively to our position and we look forward to having further dialogue on this and related matters in the near future.”

Irish Ambulance Representative Council (IARC) chairman, Peter Ray, said: “The Minister recognises the evolving and pivotal role that the NAS plays in the overall public health service. We expressed to the Minister our intention to deliver a service that is fully funded and fit for purpose, as outlined in the capacity review and the recent WRC facilitated agreement between the HSE, the Department of Health and SIPTU. This agreement averted a national all out strike by our members.

“Adequate funds for the implementation of the capacity review’s recommendations in full is essential if the NAS is to deliver the standard of service that the public expect and deserve. It is to be hoped that the Minister will maintain a strong focus on the ambulance service into the future in respect of staffing, funding, capital investment, career development and training.”

SIPTU Ambulance Professionals vote in favour of WRC proposals

SIPTU members working in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) have voted in favour of Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) proposals on the future development of the service in a ballot counted today (Thursday, 1st September) in Liberty Hall, Dublin 1.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “Our members have voted by two-to-one in favour of these proposals which resolve a number of outstanding issues in the NAS. Perhaps even more importantly, in this vote our members have overwhelmingly backed proposals that will substantially address the under-investment in our ambulance service and include the employment of 600 new workers.

“Our members are determined to ensure that the NAS and the Department of Health fully deliver on these proposals. While the agreement now requires considerable work to guarantee its full implementation we are confident that the way is now clear for our members in the NAS to engage with the employer on the issues of pay restoration, pay progression and pay justice.

Bell added: “In the coming weeks, SIPTU representatives will raise these issues directly with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris. It is also our intention to seek a job evaluation for our members in the NAS through the Public Service Commission, once it is established.”

SIPTU Ambulance Professionals to ballot on WRC proposals

SIPTU representatives have today (Tuesday, 16th August) issued ballot papers to members, working in the National Ambulance Service (NAS), ahead of a vote on Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) proposals which include increased funding for the service.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “SIPTU representatives were successful in securing these proposals which include necessary funding for the development of the NAS. However, our campaign to improve the country’s ambulance service is not over. SIPTU Ambulance Professionals are now being asked to work together to ensure these proposals are implemented in full by the Government.”

He added: “Winning a new deal for health service workers and users is our main priority but this cannot happen without our members’ full endorsement. Supporting these proposals is critical to our shared agenda as we take the next steps to deliver pay restoration, pay progression and pay justice for our members.”  

Any member who does not receive a ballot paper in the coming days please email ask@siptuhealth.ie

SIPTU demands HSE draw up contingency plan for looming ambulance strike

SIPTU members in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) have demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately draft a contingency plan that provides emergency ambulance cover for the duration of their scheduled strike which is due to begin on Wednesday, 10th August.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “Union representatives met with HSE management today (Thursday, 28th July) to discuss the long running dispute concerning the conditions of employment of ambulance workers and the future development of the service. 

“These issues include the compensation due to NAS workers under the Public Service Agreement, the implementation of a fully developed Intermediate Care Service as recommended by the Labour Court and the application of an annualised hours system.

“This was our second meeting with HSE management to discuss these issues since our members served notice of strike action. Unfortunately, the meeting did not result in enough progress being made towards finding solutions for the issues of concern. Our members remain on course to implement an all-out strike from 10th August. We are calling on the HSE to immediately enter into discussions to develop a contingency plan that ensures public safety and emergency cover for the duration of any strike action by our members.”

He added: “Our members are also deeply disappointed that the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has remained detached from this dispute and has not intervened to ensure the public has the standard of ambulance service that it deserves. Our members have presented workable solutions to the issues in dispute. They remain determined to win the fight to secure a fully resourced world class ambulance service, led by the best ambulance professionals available, with which the public can have total confidence.” 

SIPTU representatives and HSE management are scheduled to meet again on Friday, 5th August, to discuss the issues of concern for union members in the NAS.

SIPTU members in National Ambulance Service vote overwhelmingly for industrial action

SIPTU members in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) have voted by 92% to 8% to implement industrial action in a dispute related to their conditions of employment in a ballot counted this morning (Monday, 27th June) in Liberty Hall, Dublin 1.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Unfortunately, our members have no option but to implement a campaign of industrial action. NAS management has also failed to adequately engage with our members concerning the implementation of a fully developed Intermediate Care Service, as recommended by the Labour Court, or in relation to the application of an annualised hours system. 

“SIPTU organisers will now consult with our workplace representatives on what industrial action to implement with the aim of causing the least impact on the public. However, the Minister for Health and the HSE are now on notice that we cannot guarantee that certain ambulance services will not be disrupted or suspended during the period of industrial action.” 

He added: “The message from our members is loud and clear. They are calling on the Minister to instruct the HSE to engage in meaningful negotiations to protect and develop a key public health service on which our communities rely for 365 days a year.”

Chairman of the Irish Ambulance Representative Council, Peter Ray, said: “Following our members’ overwhelming decision to back industrial action senior management at the HSE must focus on constructively dealing with the issues in dispute.

“The ballot result clearly indicates our members’ frustration at how they have been treated and the failure of senior management to listen to their concerns. In recent years, our members changed work practices and achieved significant cost savings so that the NAS could develop within the financial constraints placed upon them by the wider economic recession.

“Our members have not received any recognition for the sacrifices they have made. It is now time for senior management at the HSE to deliver improved terms and conditions as well as a fully resourced service that is of a standard that the public deserves.

SIPTU members in national ambulance control centre suspend industrial action

SIPTU members in the National Ambulance Service control centre in Tallaght, Dublin 24, have tonight (Monday, 20th June) suspended a work-to-rule industrial action in order to allow for discussions with senior HSE management concerning staffing levels and payment rates.

SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley said: “Today, senior management in the HSE provided our members with a written assurance concerning the implementation of agreements in relation to staffing levels and payment rates.

“Following a meeting of SIPTU members in the control centre this evening it was decided to suspend the industrial action for a period, to allow discussions on the implementation of these agreements to commence.”

SIPTU members in national ambulance control centre to discuss management letter

SIPTU members in the National Ambulance Service control centre, in Tallaght, Dublin 24, will meet with union representatives this evening (Monday, 20th June) to discuss a written assurance received from management in relation to the implementation of agreements concerning staffing levels and payment rates.

SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley said: “Our members in the National Ambulance Service control centre began a work-to-rule industrial action earlier today. They felt they had no option but to implement industrial action due to a failure by management to fully apply agreements arrived at following negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission.”

He added: “Today, senior management in the HSE provided a written assurance concerning the implementation of these agreements. SIPTU members in the control centre will meet to discuss the letter this evening. It will be up to the workers to consider whether the assurances from HSE management will have any impact on the ongoing dispute.”

The work to rule industrial action by SIPTU members affects non-emergency duties within the control centre.

SIPTU Ambulance Professionals to ballot for strike action due to failure to publish Capacity Review

SIPTU members working in the HSE National Ambulance Service are to ballot for strike action due to the continuing refusal of the caretaker Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar to publish a National Capacity Review of the service.

Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the SIPTU Ambulance Sector in Liberty Hall, Dublin, today (Thursday, 31st March), SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Our members have been waiting months for the Minister to live up to his commitment to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health in February 2014 that he would publish this review in speedy manner.

“The Minister’s refusal to do this leaves our members with no option but to ballot for strike action as the publication of this report into the operational capacity of the ambulance service is in the interest of both workers and the public.  

“The first step the Minister for Health can take to avoid this action is to immediately publish the Capacity Review. The second step is to engage meaningfully with all stakeholders and representatives of ambulance professionals to agree on a way forward that ensures we have a fully funded and operational national ambulance service that is fit for purpose.”

Chairman of Irish Ambulance Representative Council, Peter Ray, said: “The publication of the Capacity Review is absolutely vital, not withstanding all the challenges that it will present, so that steps can be taken to ensure the delivery of a world class publicly provided and funded national ambulance service.

“In addition, we are calling for the implementation of a comprehensive intermediate care service plan across the 26 counties that will free up vital frontline emergency ambulance vehicles and personnel.”

Arrangements are being put in place to commence the balloting of SIPTU members in all grades of the ambulance service with the vote scheduled to be concluded by the end of April.

Read campaign leaflet here

 

Video: Support SIPTU Ambulance Professionals fighting for your National Ambulance Service (NAS)

Read more here http://siptuhealth.ie/siptu-ambulance-professionals-to-ballot-for-strike-action-due-to-failure-to-publish-capacity-review/

Posted by SIPTU on Thursday, March 31, 2016