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More than 7,000 health workers to vote on strike action in 2019

Siptu says staff are due an increase in pay following a job evaluation process.

MORE THAN 7,000 health service staff will be balloted for strike action in the new year.

Trade union Siptu said the decision stems from a government refusal to pay an increase in wages following a job evaluation process for staff.

This was part of the Public Service Stability Agreement, and compared responsibilities and pay across different roles in the HSE and other health organisations.. It found many staff were performing duties above their original job description, and the increase in pay could be worth as much as €6,000.

The union’s health division organiser Paul Bell said both the government and the HSE had ignored formal requests to engage with the union over the job evaluation process.

“We agreed with the government on the reintroduction of the support staff job evaluation scheme in 2016, after it had been suspended in 2009,” Bell said in a statement released this morning.

“Unfortunately, the HSE and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform delayed the start of the evaluation process and are now further delaying the implementation of its findings. Our members have been significantly disadvantaged as a result.

Phase one and two of the evaluation process determined that Siptu members employed in several grades, including health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides and surgical instrument technicians, have been substantially underpaid for many years. The cost of implementing the scheme is believed to be approximately €17 million, with many members advancing one or two grades within the existing four band Support Staff pay scale.

Members will be balloted early in 2018.

Earlier this month, the vast majority of nurses and midwives with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay and staff shortages.

Its executive council meet on 7 and 8 January to discuss the result and plan a course of action, setting dates for 24-hour work stoppages across the country.

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