SIPTU seeks improved scheme to assist healthcare workers impacted by effects of Covid 19

SIPTU, and fellow health unions, are continuing to argue for a replacement scheme to Special Leave with Pay that better protects healthcare workers whose health has been impacted by Covid 19.

Following the decision to restrict the Special Leave with Pay scheme from the 30th of June 2022 to only include Government recommended isolation periods, SIPTU has sought to negotiate a new scheme for healthcare workers who cannot attend work due to a confirmed COVID infection. To date, the HSE and Department of Health has refused to negotiate on a new scheme but instead sought to impose a temporary replacement scheme on the health service.

It is understood that the terms of the replacement scheme have been issued within the HSE. There are several concerns regarding the replacement scheme, including the fact that it only covers a period of 12 months up to the 30th of June 2023 and that it will only cover healthcare workers in certain settings.

SIPTU has raised the fact that Long COVID has been confirmed as an Occupational Disease by the EU Advisory Body on Safety and Health at Work. The Union has also raised a recent case in Scotland in which Long COVID was confirmed as a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 by the Scottish Employment Tribunal.

SIPTU has argued the need for this dispute to be referred to the Workplace Relations Commission. The HSE and Department of Health are resisting those efforts. They have stated they will publish the circular to allow those covered by it to get the new payments, instead of sick leave, as soon as possible. SIPTU has advised the employers they are doing so without agreement as the Union claim remains to secure a new scheme fitting of all healthcare workers who require it.

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said “SIPTU’s priority is ensuring that any replacement scheme to Special Leave with Pay will take account of the risks posed by Covid 19 to healthcare workers performing their duties. Health unions have sought to negotiate a new scheme for healthcare workers who cannot attend work due to a confirmed COVID infection. It is our view that the appropriate forum in which to have these discussions is at the Workplace Relations Commission. Unfortunately, the HSE and Department of Health has delayed engaging with us in such a forum. It is important to note that the withdrawal of Special Leave with Pay, and its replacement by an inferior scheme, has taken place at a time in which the World Health Organization’s European office has warned of a “challenging” autumn and winter due to a rise in Covid-19 cases in the region.”

SIPTU meets Minister for Health to discuss role of Radiographers and Radiation Therapists

SIPTU representatives today (Thursday, 26th May) met with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to discuss the potential to develop the role of Radiation Therapists and Radiographers in the health service.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “At the meeting we presented the Minister with our members’ vision for the positive development of the role of Radiation Therapists and Radiographers. Advances in technology, education qualifications and state registration present an opportunity for the transformation of the manner in which scans and treatment are prescribed, performed and reported on.”

SIPTU Radiographers and Radiation Therapists National Executive President, Michele Monahan described the meeting as “positive”.

She said: “Our members believe an advancement of their role will ensure that the best use of diagnostic services is secured to the benefit of patients. We look forward to future engagement with the Minister’s office to further expand on proposals for role expansion in the health service which are included in the Programme for Government.”

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “We informed the Minister that we are seeking to deliver sustainable solutions to the challenges health workers face every day within our health service.

“SIPTU has 45,000 members within the Nursing and Midwifery, Allied Health Professionals, National Ambulance Service and Support Grades in the health service. Our members look forward to developing a constructive working relationship with the Minister and his Department.”

Read a copy of the submission here

To download a workplace poster for our CPD day on the 11th of June click here

SIPTU urge all Radiographers and Radiation Therapists to get State registered

All SIPTU members working as Radiographers and Radiation Therapists are being reminded to apply to register with CORU by the October 31st 2015.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, with responsibility for all Allied Health Professionals, Kevin Figgis said: “We are running an awareness campaign throughout October on SIPTUhealth.ie and social media to ensure that no member is left behind when the date closes for State registration on October 31st 2015.

Speaking to SIPTUhealth.ie Mr Figgis said: “State registration is compulsory under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 for all Radiographers and Radiation Therapists. We believe that professional registration protects patients and the strengths development of professional standards and ethics in the workplace. It underpins the need for registrants to prioritise continuous professional development as well as progressing complaints and fitness to practice.”

Mr Figgis added: “SIPTU will actively campaign throughout October to assist and support our members to register. We will also encourage all Radiographers and Radiation Therapists to join SIPTU and organise to ensure that professional registration is a positive component of their professional development in our health service.”

NMBI CAMPAIGN CONTINUES – STAY UNITED – SUPPORT IS STRONG

SIPTU and other health unions are urging members to stay united and to immediately cancel any direct debit they have with the NMBI if they have not already done so.

Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said that only after 05th January 2015 members should make a payment of €100 to NMBI but assured any SIPTU member that may be under financial pressures over the Christmas period that making their payment of €100 in January/early February is perfectly fine.

Mr Figgis also confirmed that as part of on-going campaign to stop the unjustified NMBI increase a Workplace Social Media Event has been planned for Wednesday, 17th December which will allow members, in all workplaces across the country, demonstrate their commitment to, and participation in, the campaign.

Mr Figgis also confirmed that over the New Year badges will be sent to allow members to display and confirm that they are registered, have paid their €100 and are participating in this campaign.

“This co-ordinated and strong campaign between SIPTU, INMO and the PNA will allow all union members show mutual solidarity and provide for a visible expression of participation in the campaign,” concluded Mr Figgis.

Note to members

When making this €100 payment, after 05th January, it should be made through one of the following methods;

  • By Cheque; or Postal Order; or Credit Transfer

In relation to payment via credit transfer members should contact their union for the bank account details of NMBI required to organise the €100 payment. Also when making the payment of €100, regardless of which of the three methods used, members should quote their unique NMBI Pin Number and maintain a record of payment.

SIPTU urges Nurses and Midwives to ignore NMBI renewal letter

SIPTU has urged members in the Nurses and Midwifery Sector to ignore the recent renewal letter sent by the NMBI, to continue the campaign of non payment of the unfair registration increase and to make sure that they attend the protest of the NMBI offices on the 18th of November.

Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said that the protest on the 18th of November outside the NMBI offices in Blackrock, Dublin, is of great importance if SIPTU members are to send the message loud and clear that Nurses and Midwives have had enough and that they are not prepared to pay another unjustified increase or tax on work.

“All our members are advised to make no payment to NMBI, at this time, and await further advice from SIPTU and even at this late stage, we would ask all members, who have not already done so, to immediately cancel their direct debit to NMBI so that no payment in excess of €100 is made.”

Summary

 The two immediate next steps, involving all members, can be summarised as follows:

  • When you receive your renewal notice you are asked to make no payment, at this time. Furthermore members are asked to wait further advice, from your unions, as to when a payment of €100 (the existing fee) should be made maintaining a record of such payment.
  • Members should arrange to attend the public protest at 12.00 noon, outside NMBI HQ, on Tuesday, 18th November 2014.

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