Government must honour commitment to healthcare staff

The Labour Party’s Alan Kelly TD and Senator Ged Nash have called on the Government to honour their ‘solemn commitment’ to hospital support staff as the country’s acute hospitals prepare for strike action involving 10,000 staff this Thursday.

Labour Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD said:

“The Government must honour their commitment to over 10,000 healthcare support staff including healthcare assistants, lab aids, chefs, porters.

“The agreed job evaluation process was carried out to see how these roles have changed over time. It found unequivocally that different levels of pay are now needed to reflect the evolution of these important roles and the skill sets of staff.

“The fact that we are now at this point where heath support staff feel like they have no other option but to strike is completely the fault of the Government, who have not honoured their word to these important workers. 

“The time has come for some flexibility on the part of the government and they must bring solutions to the table.”

Senator Nash said:

“It is not good enough that the Government and the Department of Public Expenditure in particular have rowed back on their commitments to health support staff. Workers and their union took it in good faith that this commitment would be honoured but the government has not fulfilled its part of the bargain.

“It is worth recalling that this process took place within the framework of the public sector pay agreement. When negotiations take place between the trade union movement and the government’s own employees, it is absolutely paramount that the Government uphold their end of the bargain. 

“Thursday’s industrial action could have been totally avoided if this Government had any clue about good industrial relations and if they had any respect for hospital staff.

“The workers and their trade union SIPTU have Labour’s full support ahead of this week’s industrial action.”

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