15/12/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

Audio: SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser Paul Bell discussing averted ED strike

RTE Six One




Today with Sean O’Rourke

Newstalk Lunchtime

14/12/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

SIPTU secures permanent HSE positions for contract cleaners in Midland Regional Hospital

SIPTU has negotiated an agreement with Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore (MRHT) to curb the privatisation of cleaning services in the hospital.

SIPTU Health Organiser John Hubbard said: “Arising from protracted negotiations an agreement was reached between MRHT management and SIPTU to hire 24 contract cleaners as direct HSE employees within the service. The process has been on-going for some time but the commitment by management to in-source these jobs brings an end to private contractors operating within support grades in MRHT and provides security and decent jobs for workers.

“Due to the recruitment moratorium a number of vital positions were not filled but it soon became apparent that the clear goal of management was to outsource these positions to private contractors. Management was in the process of agreeing a service level agreement with a contractor before we intervened on behalf of our members working in the support grades in the hospital. Our members are happy with this result as it provides better jobs for workers and better health care for public hospital patients.

14/12/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

SIPTU to attend talks on Nursing & Midwifery students and graduates pay

SIPTU has confirmed planned talks on Nursing & Midwifery students and graduates pay will begin this week after a process was agreed by all parties including trade unions, HSE and Department of Health at a conciliation conference in the Workplace Relations Commission on Thursday, 10th December.

SIPTU Nursing & Midwifery Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said this independently chaired process arises from commitments secured under the Lansdowne Road Agreement and present a significant opportunity to address a number of longstanding pay related issues for student and graduate nurses and midwives including:

  • Pay during 4th year 36 week placement  
  • Application of incremental credit following appointment 
  • Post Qualification-Pre Registration Pay

“The policy of the health service over the last number of years has been to erode the terms and conditions of Nursing & Midwifery students. As a result, our public health system has not benefited from the education of graduates who have instead looked at better financial options in the private sector and overseas,” he said. 

Read the full WRC letter here

09/12/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

SIPTU welcomes Labour Court recommendation on enhanced redeployment and redundancy terms at Killiney Grove Nursing Home

SIPTU has welcomed a Labour Court recommendation for increased terms for redeployment and redundancy as a result of the closure of Killiney Grove Nursing Home.

 SIPTU Health Assistant Industrial Organiser, Aideen Carberry, said: “The recommendation is a reflection of our members determination to achieve fairness since the closure of Killiney Grove Nursing Home was announced during the summer. Our members, who previously had no experience of working in a unionised employment, have risen to the challenge and are an example of what can be achieved when workers are organised and working together for a common aim.”

The company initially offered redeployment and statutory redundancy payments for those who did not wish to redeploy. A retention bonus for staff wishing to stay within the company was subsequently negotiated between the parties, however, different sums were being offered on the basis of grade. Despite SIPTU’s concerns that not all members could be accommodated in other nursing homes within a reasonable distance of Killiney Grove, the company refused to offer more than statutory redundancy.

The Court has since recommended that a sizable retention bonus should be awarded to all staff who wish to remain within the company. This is to be awarded irrespective of grade. In addition it has been recommended that two additional weeks’ pay per year of service be awarded to members who wish to exit the company and we are currently engaging with Silver Stream Healthcare to ensure additional redundancy payments and redeployments are processed as soon as possible.”

Killiney Grove Nursing Home is part of the Silver Stream Healthcare Group, closed at the end of November as the result of a dispute over the lease of the property between the employer and landlord. The terms of redeployment and redundancy were the subject of a Labour Court hearing on the 26th of November. 

08/12/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

SIPTU calls on NMBI to publish independent reports

SIPTU National Nurses and Midwifery Committee met this afternoon (8th December 2015) to discuss the publication of 18 reform recommendations arising from an external organisational review of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

After the meeting, SIPTU members called for the publication of the full independent reports in order to restore confidence and bring about a culture of transparency that underpins every strong regulatory body.

Speaking to SIPTUhealth.ie SIPTU Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said “It is only fair that all nurses and midwives have full access to these reports into how their statutory regulator conducts its business and allocate resources. 

SIPTU ran an energetic campaign to oppose the 50% increase in the annual retention fee on the basis that nurses and midwives did not receive any satisfactory explanation for the increase from the NMBI. 

The 18 reform recommendations arising from an external organisational review clearly justify our opposition to the increase and our demand that the current €100 retention fee be maintained as part of the Lansdowne Road Agreement. We are calling on the NMBI to publish these reports in full with a detailed explanation into how the NMBI plan on implementing the 18 recommendations from the organisational review.”

04/12/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

SIPTU calls for full disclosure of NMBI organisational review

SIPTU has welcomed the publication of 18 reform recommendations arising from an external organisational review of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) by Crowe Horwath Accountants.  

Kevin Figgis said: “We met with the NMBI on Thursday, 3rd December and were given a copy of the recommendations from this external review by Crowe Horwath Accountants. However, the Board declined to provide us with a copy of the full report. It is quite clear from the recommendations that the NMBI requires structural reform in order to fulfil its statutory requirements and obligations to its members.

The 18 recommendations cover change management at the NMBI, the structure of the executive team, financial resources and funding, processes at NMBI, developing the organisation structure, IT systems, strategy, business planning and governance arrangements.

“The SIPTU National Nurses and Midwifery Committee will meet early next week to consider the recommendations. Following this meeting a statement will be issued to our members”, he said.

Click here to view Crowe Horwath recommendations  

Click here to read the statement from NMBI on the publication of the recommendations arising from the Crowe Horwarth Report

SIPTU member Breda Liston elected onto the NMBI

SIPTU member Breda Liston was elected on the first count to the Nurses and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) on 30th November.

During her election campaign, Breda stressed the importance of having strong trade union representation on the NMBI.

“I am delighted to have received such a firm mandate from nurses and midwives to represent our interests on the NMBI. I have been an active trade unionist all my working life and will continue to be a voice for fairness and value for money for all the nurses and midwives across the country.

“I hope to bring transparency to the NMBI, to campaign to reduce waiting times for nurse’s registration and to protect the integrity of the Lansdowne Road Agreement in relation to its commitment not to increase the NMBI retention fee.

“I wish to thank everyone who voted for me.”

SIPTU Nurses and Midwives Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis said: “Our candidates ran fantastic campaigns full of energy and enthusiasm. The engagement with our membership during these campaigns has been very encouraging. I look forward to working with Breda over the coming years and thank both our candidates for contesting this election.”   

Watch Breda outline what she hopes to bring to the NMBI below

01/12/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

National consultation results highlights exploitation of home care workers

A new set of proposed employment guidelines for the home care sector was launched today (Monday 30th November) following a nationwide consultation with home care workers. The consultation process revealed that exploitation, poor working conditions and discrimination are widespread in the sector. Home care workers working for private agencies or employed directly by families are increasingly vulnerable to precarious working conditions including low pay, temporary contracts and irregular hours. 

The guidelines comprise a comprehensive package of proposed measures to tackle exploitation and build a care sector that is sustainable and delivers quality care alongside decent jobs.

Read full Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), The Carers Association and SIPTU launch Employment Guidelines for Home Care Workers – The Workers’ Perspective report here

 Key consultation findings:

·         A lack of recognition and value for care work.

·       Standard and quality of home care provided impacted by insufficient time with clients.

·       No enforceable standards for non-HSE home care sector workers – different pay rates, training, standards of care, duties, and terms and conditions of employment depending on the service provider.

·         Insufficient training provided to perform all aspects of the work.

·         Tight schedules with multiple locations: often workers have to cut short allocated time with clients to reach their next client on time.

·         Unfair clocking-in systems:  time spent in transit not recognised, workers can be left with low wages despite working long hours.

·         Increased amount of paperwork, but no additional time allocated for client care.

·         Discrimination/racism in the workplace is not appropriately addressed.

·         Workers advocating for clients reported a fear of losing paid hours and/or clients losing hours of care if they make a complaint.

·         No clear job description or delineation of roles for many private/not-for-profit workers.

·         Occupational health and safety issues

·         Workers feeling excluded from on patient care plan and reviews. 

Paul Bell SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser said, ‘SIPTU represents 10,000 Home Care workers providing essential services to vulnerable citizens and the wider community. We welcome Employment Guidelines for the Home Care Sector: The Workers’ Perspective call for stronger regulation, investment in training and genuine recognition of the contribution Home Care workers make. We support the recommendation to establish a Joint Labour Committee (JLC) for the Home Care sector and see the national public service provider as a good benchmark to build upon our members terms and conditions and begin the drive to provide parity across the sector. We look forward to campaigning with the Migrants Rights Centre of Ireland and the Carers Association to protect Home Care workers from any attempted race to the bottom and creating a solid floor of terms and conditions enabling all Home Care workers to earn a living wage and live a decent life.” 

Grainne O’Toole of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) said, The consultation process showed a burgeoning care sector with little regulation and few standards. The conditions for all workers range from exploitation to discrimination and racism. The level of exploitation of migrant workers in the care sector is alarming – particularly for undocumented migrants, who are increasingly being used as cheap labour to meet the escalating cost of care within the home. There is an urgent need for a work permit for the care sector to stamp out the exploitative use of migrants as a disposable labour force, and to allow people to be cared for in their own homes. The home care sector as a whole needs immediate attention by the government to ensure quality care and decent jobs go hand in hand. ‘

Dr Mary Murphy of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said, I commend the participative approach used in the consultation across multiple groups including family carers, migrant workers, the trade union movement and employer bodies.  The consultations held with home care workers highlighted the many serious issues arising from the lack of regulation in the home care market over the last decade.  Overall the research highlights the need for approaches that speaks to human rights and equality of treatment. The recent introduction of a Public Sector Duty for all public sector bodies to have regard to equality and human rights in the way they work and operate will impact on future work of public bodies in this area.

David Lowbridge of The Carers Association, said ‘we are committed to improving the rights of family carers. This research clearly sets out the issues facing Home Care Workers and presents future solutions. The quality and standards of home care is very important to families as it is to home care workers.

28/11/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

SIPTU calls on Minister for Health to publish HSE National Ambulance Review

SIPTU has called on the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to publish the recommendations of the HSE National Ambulance Review so that work on developing the service can commence.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “SIPTU members will be meeting over the coming month across the country to consider proposals for a ballot for strike action in order to secure publication of the HSE National Ambulance Review and a commitment on increased funding for the service.

“It is staggering that the Minister for Health has had in his possession an executive summary of this independent review since December 2014 but has yet to make it public. This is even more surprising when it is considered that almost two years ago he made a public commitment to the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee to conduct an urgent examination of the service.

Bell added: “The National Ambulance Service has been heavily criticised in HIQA reports for a failure to meet some response time targets and other issues. Our members are demanding the service is adequately resourced to meet these targets.

 “It is my understanding that the executive summary of the review makes clear that the service requires approximately €50 million of extra investment to bring it up to the international standards that serve as the benchmarks for HIQA reports.

 “The review highlights the requirement for the recruitment of 250 to 300 frontline ambulance professionals and an updating of the fleet. It also focuses on the failure to adequately resource the Intermediate Care Vehicle programme that is resulting in the deployment of emergency ambulances for patient transfers.”

28/11/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

Funeral arrangements for our retired colleague, Austin Cribbin

It is with regret we advise of the sudden death of our colleague, Austin Cribbin, former Honorary Secretary of Donegal Nursing Services. 

Funeral arrangements –

 Sunday, 29th November, 2015,  2.00 p.m. at Eternal Light Chapel, Mountain Top, Letterkenny.

3.00 p.m. St. Euan’s Catherdal, Letterkenny to repose overnight.

Monday, 30th November, 2015, Mass at 10.00 a.m. with burial in Maugherow, Co. Sligo.