Ireland: EPSU solidarity with health workers' strike over job and pay regrading

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(26 June 2019) Around 10000 health workers are on strike today (26 June) over the government's failure to honour a job and pay regrading exercise. The strike, initially planned for last week, had been been suspended pending emergency talks.

EPSU sent a message of support to the SIPTU trade union in Ireland for its strike planned for 20 June but the strike threat prompted the government to come back to the negotiating table. However, the emergency talks failed to break the deadlock and the 24-hour action went ahead today. Further talks are now planned but the union is also preparing for further strike action next week if the new talks fail.

The workers, support staff and chefs, voted with a 95% majority for the action following the failure by the health service to implement a job evaluation pay award.

SIPTU members have been frustrated that the health employers accepted the recommendations of the job evaluation scheme in 2017 which set out which staff should be upgraded with appropriate pay increases.

Since then the union has made clear that it is open to negotiations over implementation of the changes and last week took part in talks at the Workplace Relations Commission aimed at resolving the dispute. However, the talks ended on Monday 17 June without agreement as the government continued to refuse come up with any additional money for the pay upgrading.

The initial action across 38 hospitals and healthcare institutions was to involve around 10000 SIPTU members providing portering, household and catering services and employed as health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs and surgical instrument technicians.

Read more at SIPTU.

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