12 April 2007 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe


Health Employers fail to agree national contingency plan

Health Service Employers failed to agree on a national contingency plan with nursing unions for the planned one-hour work stoppages on Wednesday in St. Vincent’s University Hospital Dublin, South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel and in the South Tipperary Mental Health Services.
The HSE Employers’ Agency did say however that a “memo of understanding” had been agreed between nurses and hospital management to ensure that critical care was provided. The work stoppage has only resulted in the cancellation of some surgical procedures and some out-patient appointments. Liam Doran, General Secretary of the INO, said that “all essential and emergency care would be maintained during the stoppages.”
 The Irish Nurses Organisation & the Psychiatric Nurses Association said a second series of short work stoppages will take place on Friday.


The Health and Safety Authority have this week published a new code of practice that aims to tackle bullying in the workplace. Almost half of all Irish companies have no procedures in place at all to deal with workplace bullying.
The new code will come into effect on 1 May and will ensure that all companies will be required to keep records of complaints made by employees. It is hoped that the new measures will enable most disputes to be solved informally and result in less cases being taken to court.



Ireland can expect more ship protests

The International Transport Federation said this week that Ireland should expect more and more ships to dock in Irish ports whose crew are seeking pay owed and basic working rights, after almost 40 calls for help from foreign crewmen in Irish ports over the last year. The ITF represents the interests of transport workers globally through campaigning and solidarity.
ITF General Secretary David Cockroft said that Ireland was now “at the forefront of a global battle against the abuse of seafarers”.
The effectiveness of the ITF alongside other unions to enforce laws against employers and ship owners who exploit their crew has resulted in Ireland being seen as a country that safeguards the rights of seafarers. 


Conference demands reduced class sizes

The issue of class sizes was debated at the annual conferences of the three main teachers’ unions this week. Teachers see large class sizes as having a major impact on discipline within the classroom and they are now increasing their demands for government action on class sizes.
The INTO represents primary teachers and their conference which began on Tuesday took place in Cork. Among the other issues that were discussed by the teachers were pupil-teacher ratio, the lack of support for children with little English language skills, student behaviours and the administrative workload of principals.
The ASTI and the TUI representing second level teachers debated many of the same issues at their conferences which began on Wednesday.


Six Counties firm to get Bus Éireann contract

A County Antrim company, the Wright Group, has won the lucrative €11.5m contract to supply nearly 50 double decker buses to Bus Éireann for Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. The deal has been hailed as a boost for cross-border co-operation and  an indicator of economic prosperity which could be promoted across the island as a whole.
Mick O’Reilly of the ATGWU said the visit was tangible evidence that the Good Friday Agreement could have beneficial effects for employment on the island of Ireland.

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