22/09/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Health unions call for “immediate” talks after Labour Court recommendation on COVID-19 compensation

Unions representing healthcare workers have called for immediate talks with the HSE on recognition for healthcare worker’s efforts during the COVID-19 crisis, following a Labour Court recommendation today.

SIPTU, Fórsa, and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation had raised the issue at the Labour Court, which today called on all parties to begin “effective engagement” to resolve the matter.

Unions are seeking some form of tangible recognition for healthcare workers’ contribution to the fight against COVID-19. In other countries across Europe, this has taken the form of additional pay, annual leave or a bonus.

Tony Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Staff Panel of trade unions in the health sector, said:

“We welcome the Labour Court recommendation today. Unions have consistently sought meaningful meetings with the HSE on this issue.

“The Court recognised the ‘extraordinary efforts of health workers throughout the pandemic’. They have called on all parties to ‘make every effort possible’ to begin ‘effective engagement’ to ‘achieve clarity…at the earliest possible opportunity’.

“Trade unions are available to meet immediately to do exactly that. This is a simple matter of justice for our members. They have made incredible sacrifices and taken huge risks throughout the pandemic. It is time for the HSE and government to recognise their efforts meaningfully, as has been done in other countries across Europe.”

The national staff panel of health care workers unions represents members of the INMO, SIPTU, Fórsa, IMO, MLSA, UNITE, CONNECT, and the craft group of unions.

13/09/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Labour Court hearing on health workers’ claim for recognition of their work during Covid-19 pandemic

A Labour Court hearing on the row over recognition for health workers’ efforts and commitment during the Covid-19 pandemic takes place later today (Monday, 13thSeptember). Trade unions representing health workers referred the case to the Labour Court following a July meeting in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), when the HSE said it had no mandate from the Government to make proposals to recognise health workers’ contribution.

The unions, led by Fórsa, the INMO and SIPTU, subsequently asked An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin to intervene amid growing frustration among health staff.

Tony Fitzpatrick, INMO Director of Industrial Relations said: “Health workers welcomed comments by An Taoiseach and other senior Government figures, who have gone on record to support the proposal that their efforts during the pandemic should be recognised. So they were incredulous that the HSE claimed it had no mandate to engage on the issue. That’s why we’ve had to take our case to the Labour Court.”

Fórsa’s Head of Health & Welfare, Éamonn Donnelly, said: “This has become deeply damaging to the morale of health care workers who, without exception, have demonstrated extraordinary commitment in their response to public need since the pandemic struck in February 2021. It’s demoralising that we’ve ended up in the Labour Court when there is broad public and political consensus on the issue.”

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “The Republic is out of step with Northern Ireland, the UK, and most EU countries, where health workers have already seen recognition of their extraordinary efforts and contribution. Over 30,000 health care workers have been infected with Covid-19 since the pandemic struck in Ireland.”

The case before the Labour Court today is in the name of the National Staff Panel of health unions, which represents members of the INMO, SIPTU, Fórsa, IMO, MLSA, UNITE, CONNECT, and the craft group of unions.

09/09/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Sláintecare Needs “Urgent Recommitment” say Health Unions

Ireland’s major health unions today (Thursday, 9th September) called for an “urgent recommitment” to the Sláintecare health reform programme, following the resignation of two senior officials associated with the project.

Professor Tom Keane (Chairperson) and Dr. Laura Magahy (Executive Director) both stepped down from their positions with the programme. In his resignation letter, Prof. Keane said that the requirements for implementing Sláintecare were “seriously lacking”.

Members of the the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Health Sector Group, including the INMO, SIPTU and Forsa, who represent workers across the health sector, have now jointly called for:

  • The Oireachtas Health Committee to be reconvened to look into the resignations;
  • The Minister for Health to clearly renew his commitment to the Sláintecare project;
  • A commitment to transition funding for Sláintecare in the upcoming budget;
  • A return to the original principles of the Sláintecare plan, including basing the project office in the Department of the Taoiseach and the creation of regional authorities.

Congress Health Sector Group Coordinator, Macdara Doyle said:

“The resignations of Sláintecare’s most senior official are deeply worrying. COVID has further exposed the weakness of a two-tier health service. Now is the time to redouble our efforts on healthcare reforms, not fall back.

“The resignations should serve as a wakeup call for the political system. Sláintecare has cross-party support – it is well beyond time that it becomes a reality.

“The Oireachtas Health Committee needs to meet on this matter urgently. The Minister for Health needs to make a clear commitment to the plan and this has to be backed up by firm commitments from his colleagues in government.”

08/09/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Have your say! Respect=Recognition for Health Workers Survey

SIPTU representatives, along with other health unions, are working together to win recognition for the effort and commitment shown by health workers during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of their ‘Respect = Recognition’ campaign.

We are asking members to support the campaign by completing a short survey which will help strengthen the case we are putting to the Government and Labour Court.

A Labour Court hearing is expected to bring the parties together on Monday, 13th September. The court hearing comes after HSE representatives failed to table an offer at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in early August.

Health workers in Northern Ireland, France, Denmark and elsewhere have been offered some form of tangible recognition for their work during the pandemic crisis. We believe that similar recognition should be afforded to our frontline heroes in health.

We will keep you informed of any updates on our hearing at the Labour Court and we thank you for your continued support and efforts.