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Cleaners in Castlebar hospital to commence industrial action

The SIPTU workers said they will serve notice of industrial action in response to the HSE’s decision to outsource staff.

Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Image: ANDREW PARSONS/PA Archive/Press Association Images

CLEANERS AT CASTLEBAR General Hospital plan to serve notice of industrial action to management in the coming days.

The SIPTU workers said the action is a response to the HSE decision to outsource the work of support staff who are due to retire before 29 February.

Hospital management has told the employees that it is proposing to engage the services of private contractors to cover the hours of the eight workers.

“We have tried for almost six months to secure a meeting in an effort to avoid confrontation on this issue,” said Paul Bell, the union’s health division organiser.

“We met under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in mid-2011 but HSE management has refused to engage in any serious way since then.”

In November, the 80 cleaners agreed they would cover the hours of eight workers who left employment during 2011.

“That involved home-helps carrying out cleaning duties in the hospital,” explained Bell. “However, neither the hospital management nor the HSE has put this arrangement in place.”

The SIPTU representatives claim that any engagement of private contractors to carry out their work would be a breach of the Croke Park Agreement.

Bell told TheJournal.ie that the union’s members will decide what the most effective course of action is in the next couple of days but added that anything agreed will not adversely affect patient care.

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