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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
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Trade union asks Health Minister to extend Covid-19 payment to contracted frontline workers

The criteria does not currently include workers exployed by external companies.

A TRADE UNION has asked the Minister for Health to ensure the Covid-19 recognition payment for frontline healthcare staff is given to workers employed by contract companies.

Two Siptu shop stewards met with Minister Stephen Donnelly today during a visit to University Hospital Galway, according to the union.

Michelle Greer and Ewelina Dziadyk, who are employed for contract services in the healthcare sector, asked the minister why the cohort of staff had not received the payment.

The Covid-19 special recognition payment is being offered to healthcare workers who worked on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021.

The criteria includes workers such as doctors, nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and paramedics.

It also specifies “support staff employed by HSE/Section 38 employers” such as cleaners, maintenance workers, porters, caterers, clinical waste workers and CSSD operatives.

In a statement from Siptu, Michelle Greer, who is a contract catering worker in University Hospital Galway, said she explained to the minister “that the only difference between me and other workers who have received the payment is that I am a contract services worker – that is someone who works fully within the hospital but is employed by a company contracted to carry out work by the HSE”.

“It was my understanding following the meeting that the Minister believes that we should be eligible for the payment and he directed us to contact the HSE in relation to receiving it.”

Siptu is calling on the government to meet with workers’ union representatives to discuss the payment of the recognition award before Christmas, which is expected to be another difficult time for the healthcare system. 

Organiser Mary Mullin said in a statement that “in the height of the pandemic there was no doubt that these contract healthcare workers were on the frontline keeping our healthcare system running during the most trying of emergencies”.

“However, when it now comes to their bravery and commitment to doing their duty being recognised, it would seem that these frontline heroes have become forgotten heroes to the Government and HSE.”

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