16/10/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole



We have two weeks to go for all radiographers and radiation therapists to get State registered.

Professional registration protects patients and strengthens the development of professional standards and ethics in the workplace. It is vital that all our members actively campaign throughout October to assist and support our members to register.  SIPTU members explain why it is important to be State registered here.

SIPTU says budget is mix of positive measures and missed opportunities

Budget 2016 contains a number of positive measures that will see workers make the first real financial gains from a budget in almost eight years, according to SIPTU researcher, Ger Gibbons.

The public spending commitments, including the restoration of the Christmas bonus by 75% for hard-pressed social welfare recipients, will help to improve the living conditions of some of the most vulnerable in society, he said. The increase in the minimum wage, the restoration of the respite care grant and the extension of free childcare are also important initiatives for working families.

“Public spending increases in health and education will help to relieve pent-up pressures in these areas. The decision to address the PRSI ‘step-effects’ which acted as a disincentive for employees with an annual income of €18,300 to work additional hours or to seek a pay rise is a further positive measure. Budget 2016 however represents in many ways a missed opportunity to make real inroads into the continuing social damage caused by the crisis.

“The union has argued over recent months that the resources that become available as the economy recovers should be allocated over the medium term in a 2:1 ratio, with two-parts going towards rebuilding public services, and one-part towards tax reform, targeting low to middle income earners.

“Thereafter, the focus should exclusively be on providing the public services that Ireland now needs. The Government’s decision to opt for a 50:50 split leaves insufficient resources, despite the many increases announced today, to start repairing the damage of recent years particularly in public health and housing.

“On the taxation side, we are disappointed that the Government did not move to replace the Universal Social Charge with a progressive Social Solidarity Contribution and accompanying tax credit of €775. While income earners will gain from the changes to the USC announced by the Government today, the fact remains that the more you earn (up to a limit of €70,000), the more you will gain from these changes. However, over 40,000 low income earners will be taken out of the USC net.

“We welcome the reversal of some of the most egregious cuts implemented from 2008 to 2014 but are disappointed that others, such the cut to the standard Jobseekers’ Allowance for those aged 26 and under and the abolition of the transitional pension, were not addressed.

“In the context of the budgetary provisions, the failure to rectify the injustice perpetrated on workers who retire at 65 years of age and who have contributed for years to the State is unacceptable and is a glaring omission in the Budget in the context of a growing economy with increasing Exchequer revenues. The effect of the failure to ameliorate the loss of the Transitional Pension will continue to cause undue hardship to workers retiring and their families,” Ger Gibbons added. He said that SIPTU will continue to campaign for the reversal of these measures.

SIPTU welcomes HSE decision to attend conciliation over staffing levels in Meath community units

SIPTU members have welcomed the HSE decision to attend conciliation at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to try to resolve a dispute over its failure to fill vacant nursing posts on a permanent basis in two community units in County Meath.

St Joseph’s Hospital in Trim and Beaufort House in Navan have a total of 8.14 whole-time equivalent (WTE) vacant nursing posts, including a clinical nurse manager.

The union had argued that HSE management was in breach of the public service agreement by not filling these posts. Management has subsequently filled them with agency staff on short-term contracts.

SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley, said: “SIPTU nursing members believed that the only way to truly have an on- going reliable service is to permanently fill these vacancies. It was an incredible decision not to fill the nursing vacancies and was taken unilaterally by management without any consultation or without a proper strategy to deal with the staffing gaps. While our position to fill these vacant posts on a permanent basis has not changed, we welcome the decision of all parties to engage at the WRC to try to resolve this dispute.”

Radiographers Registration Board Notice of Election 2015 and Request for Nominations

SIPTU members working as Radiographers and Radiation Therapists are advised CORU are seeking to hold elections for (6) positions to the radiographer registration board in early December 2015.

The following notice refers to both radiographers and radiation therapists and states:

‘As provided for in the Election of Members for Appointment to the Radiographers Registration Board Bye-Law 2014, this is the official notice of the holding of the 2015 election of six members to the Radiographers Registration Board and request for nominations of candidates.

Vacancies arise in the following Three Electoral Categories

Category 1: Three vacancies for registrants who are engaged in the practice of the profession of radiographer or radiation therapist

Category 2: Two vacancies for registrants who are engaged in the management of services provided by the profession of radiographer or radiation therapist

Category 3: One vacancy for registrants who are engaged in education provided for the profession of radiographer or radiation therapist’

Please note that nominations are being requested by CORU to be received by the returning officer no later than the 16th November 2015.

Should any SIPTU member wish to put themselves forward for a position please email ask@siptuhealth.ie for more details.

SIPTU members suspend industrial action in Galway social care work dispute

SIPTU members working as social care workers and social care leaders in the Brothers of Charity and Ability West services, county Galway, have suspended a campaign of industrial action which began earlier this month.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The industrial action has been suspended until a ballot on a proposal from the employer is completed. The union has received confirmation from the HSE that the Department of Health has allocated funds to cover the monies owed to these workers as compensation for their employers failure to honour so-called ‘twilight payment’ rates.

“The level of compensation to be made available to the workers will be in line with a Labour Relations Commission (LRC) proposal on this matter.

“The Department of Health has also made funds available to cover the liabilities for Brothers of Charity social care workers, care assistants and leaders employed in Roscommon, Cork, Limerick, Clare and Waterford where premium pay arrears are also outstanding.”

He added: “During October, SIPTU members will attend information meetings to discuss the employer’s proposal.

Following these meetings, members will have the opportunity to vote in a secret ballot to accept or reject the offer.

“The workers involved in this dispute are committed staff providing a vital service to people with intellectual disabilities.

They felt they had been left with no option but to undertake industrial action due to their employer’s failure to honour a LRC proposal on compensation.

This dispute has been difficult for the workers. It has also been difficult and stressful for the families of service users and clients.

However, SIPTU members ensured that their vulnerable clients were not adversely affected during the industrial action.”


The Lansdowne Road Agreement committed the nursing unions and the HSE to meeting directly and engaging on outstanding issues of: incremental credit for 36 week placement, rate of pay during the fourth year work placement and pre-registration post qualification payment.

The unions met with the HSE on 25 September 2015 with a view to commencing these discussions. The unions raised the following points:

  • The well documented current shortage of nursing/ midwifery staff, in the Irish public health service and the negative impact on services that are arising as a result
  • The collective view of the unions is that this has been further impacted upon by the draconian cuts that were imposed on nursing/midwifery students from 2009 onward;
  • We further voiced concerns that nurses in training during the years 2010 to 2014 were subjected to these cuts and do not believe that they will be treated fairly if they return to the Irish health service
  • Likewise students in training cannot see a future in a service which has applied over 40% cuts to their grades
  • The view of the trade unions involved is that correcting these issues would be the first steps in restoring confidence to these groups, and this would positively impact on their retention and recruitment.

The HSE were not in a position to respond and requested a period of three weeks, during which time they will consider the matters and revert to the unions on or before 16 October 2015.

It is the firm belief of SIPTU, the INMO and the PNA that in the event that the employer refuses to engage in respect of these matters, considering the very serious crisis in nursing/midwifery staffing in the Irish health service, we will be forced into a position of consulting with members to commence a public campaign to highlight the need for urgency in dealing with retention and recruitment of nurses and midwives.

Read full statement here

SIPTU members to vote on HSE proposal in Galway health workers dispute

SIPTU members working as social care workers and social care leaders in County Galway will vote on a proposal tabled by the HSE to resolve a dispute concerning the payment of monies owed to them for evening work.

SIPTU Organiser, Mark Lohan, said: “Social care workers and social care leaders working for Ability West and the Brothers of Charity Services in Galway have not received monies that the Labour Court ruled were owed to them as compensation for these organisations failure to honour so-called ‘twilight payment’ rates.

“The failure by management to honour the Labour Court ruling led to industrial action by workers. However, following intensive negotiations between SIPTU representatives and the HSE, management has presented a proposal which incudes an offer of three years back pay to the affected workers. This measure of justice is added to the union negotiated payment of the correct wages going forward since January 2015.”

He added: “SIPTU members turned up the heat in this dispute in recent weeks serving management with notice of strike action and highlighting the situation to Government TDs. These actions have resulted in a clear proposal from theemployer’s side. It is now up to the members to vote for acceptance or rejection in a ballot that will be conducted in the coming days.

“This dispute has been difficult for the workers. It has also been difficult and stressful for the families of service users and clients. However, SIPTU members ensured that those vulnerable clients were not adversely affected during the industrial action.

“SIPTU representatives have succeeded in the negotiations in ensuring the back pay settlement covers all care staff, in both companies, who work twilight shifts, and who have been historically denied the correct wages. The current proposal gives back as much as could be pried from the HSE and Department of Health, as precedent and statute also limits back pay claims.”

17/09/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

SIPTU says progress made to end dispute over Galway health workers unpaid wages

SIPTU says progress made to end dispute over Galway health workers unpaid wages.

SIPTU Organiser Mark Lohan said: “The ongoing work to rule industrial action and the impending strike action at Brothers of Charity, Galway and Ability West, has resulted in some progress from the employers side.  This afternoon (Thursday) the Union received proposed language from the employer to resolve the current impasse.

The language seeks to clarify the employers’ position regarding the Labour Court recommendation. This late breaking development is welcomed and SIPTU will reflect and consider the language proposed before replying fully.”

Speaking to SIPTUhealth.ie Mr Lohan said SIPTU members have been turning up the pressure in recent days by demanding that the Minister for Health honours proposals, tentatively agreed, at the LRC this summer.

“Our members have also contacted Galway government TDs and highlighted the way they were treated less favourably than other health workers, and requested that their local representatives bring this unjust reality to the Minister’s door.”

Public Service Committee of ICTU vote to approve Lansdowne Road Agreement

The Public Services Committee (PSC) of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has voted to approve the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The deal was approved by an aggregate ballot of the PSC at a meeting on Wednesday 16th September 2015

The Lansdowne Road Agreement extends the main provisions of the Haddington Road Agreement until September 2018, and restores around €2,000 to the pay of most public servants in three phases between January 2016 and September 2017. The pay restoration will be achieved through a combination of adjustments to the public service pension levy and a partial reversal of the 2010 public service pay cuts.

Speaking to SIPTUhealth.ie Divisional Organiser Paul Bell said: “One of the main reasons SIPTU enjoyed a successful campaign and ballot supporting the Lansdowne Road Agreement is that our members had the opportunity to frame our agenda. Our members demanded job security and pay recovery. We have achieved those objectives and now move forward stronger and better together.

Throughout our consultation meetings around the country we made it clear the Lansdowne Road Agreement is the first step on the journey to repair the damage inflicted on our public health service and workers since the crash. Our members now have protection from outsourcing, a modest increase in their take home pay, our intern members working in the health service the opportunity of a permanent job and our nurses and midwives a freeze in professional fees.”

Bell said that the next step for SIPTU Health is to continue the conversation with shop stewards to organise the membership in demanding a fully resourced public health service that the Irish people deserve and can be proud of.

Individual unions balloted their members on the terms of the agreement through the summer months. The agreement was endorsed by members of the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO), SIPTU, the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), MLSA, TEEU and IMPACT. In recent days the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU) and the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) also voted to approve the deal.

Shay Cody, General Secretary of IMPACT and chair of the PSC, said that the Lansdowne Road Agreement marked a significant step forward for workers after seven years of pay cuts, and reflected a growing trend for wage improvements across many sectors of the economy since 2014.

“Workers in the public and private sectors have faced huge challenges during the economic crisis. Pay improvements across all sectors are a crucial element of the country’s continuing economic recovery. More money in workers’ hands will largely be spent in the local economy, improving living standards and, most importantly, contributing to the job growth which has now developed,” he said.

To watch Paul Bell, Divisional Organiser speak on the Lansdowne Road Agreement click here

11/09/2015 Comments are off Patrick Cole

Trade unions say European Court ruling will provide protection against excessive working hours

The ICTU and SIPTU have said that a European Court ruling on Thursday (10th September), which found that travel time for employees with no fixed place of work should be counted as part of their working day, could benefit many workers in Ireland.

ICTU Industrial Officer, Fergus Whelan, said: “The ruling affects workers with no ‘fixed or habitual’ place of work. It requires a worker’s travel time between home and their first and last customer appointments in a working day to be considered in relation to the 48-hour maximum working week as legislated for under the EU Working Time Directive.”

He added: “Many employers in Ireland are already fair-minded about travel time for journeys to customers for workers. However, this sensible ruling will prevent unscrupulous employers from being able to force workers to work excessive hours which could include considerable time traveling to and from work.”

The ruling resulted from a case which was referred to the European Court of Justice by the Spanish National High Court involving the security installation firm, Tyco, which was not counting the journeys its workers made from their homes to customers’ premises as part of the working week.

The ruling does not affect workers daily commute to their normal place of work.