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 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 urges HSE to engage on the findings of the National Ambulance Service Capacity Review

SIPTU has today (Tuesday, 17th May) welcomed the decision of the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to publish the National Ambulance Service capacity review and urged the Health Service Executive (HSE) to immediately engage with the union on its findings.

Speaking after an emergency meeting of SIPTU National Ambulance Sector Committee, Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Our members have mandated us to open direct conversations with the HSE on how best to implement the findings of the capacity review. The implementation of the capacity review will require a strong commitment from the Minister to ensure the appropriate funding is made available for the training and recruitment of the 400 ambulance personal identified in the review. This is essential if we are to have a publicly funded National Ambulance Service which the general public can trust and that citizens deserve.”

Chairman of the Irish Ambulance Representative Council, Peter Ray, said: “ Our members have long held the view that staffing levels and capital investment were utterly inadequate. This report vindicates our members’ position and the struggle we have been involved in over the last number of years. We feel with the publication of the review we have the tools to make real progress towards a building a world class service. We look forward to the challenges ahead and to genuine engagement with the HSE to develop a publicly funded service that’s fit for purpose. It is now vitally important that all stakeholders involved in the ambulance services deliver on what is a transformative and pivotal report.”

To view the full report click here