22 May 2008 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
Potential job losses for Belfast health sector
PUBLIC services union NIPSA has said that a leaked report on the Belfast Trust Area shows that nurses would be worst hit by cost-cutting proposals with losses of up to 3,000 jobs.
Brian Campfield, Deputy General Secretary of NIPSA, said that the health trusts in the North which employ over 22,000 people are under pressure to reduce their budgets.
“We are very worried about these proposals. We have been advised that the trust believes some of these cuts could be achieved through early retirement and voluntary redundancy packages but we do not support this.”
Campfield also indicated that reducing the workforce by 3,000 would impact on the level of service that could be provided in the health sector.
SIPTU members defer strike at contracting firm
SIPTU members have deferred a planned strike for this week at Enterprise Plc, a British contractor responsible for the maintenance and upgrade of the Bord Gáis network in Dublin and Leinster.
The action comes after progress was made during negotiations at the Labour Relations Commission on Friday last.
The dispute is about the decision of Enterprise Plc to increase sub-contracting work and reduce directly-employed labour. Sixteen directly-employed workers have already been made redundant, among them two union shop stewards.
There is also concern from the union about a sub-contractor of the company allegedly not adhering to terms of the Registered Employment Agreement by not making pension contributions or paying the proper rates for the job. The union is currently attempting to retrieve over €40,000 in back-pay for four Romanian workers who were employed by the sub-contractors.
Local government workers hold strike ballot
LOCAL government workers in the North are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay.
The workers, who are covered by the Local Government Services Pay Agreement (which also includes English and Welsh local government staff), rejected the Local Government Employers’ organisation (LGE) pay offer by 3 to 1 on the grounds that at 2.45 per cent it represented less than half the rate of inflation.
Unite the Union national officer Peter Allenson said:
“Our members are understandably angered and frustrated. Local Government Employers must recognise that local government workers are struggling with soaring energy and food costs. This pay offer is a pay cut and it’s totally unacceptable.
“It is now up to the Local Government Employers to get real and make an offer which recognises the pressure these hard-working public servants are under.”
HSE to lift recruitment ban
AS 28,000 healthcare staff had been preparing to take industrial action, it emerged this week that the Health Service Executive in the 26 Counties is to lift its embargo on recruiting new staff but this will only apply to sections which are operating within their budget and considered by them to be “understaffed”. Eighty-five per cent of IMPACT trade union members have voted in favour of the planned industrial action over the staffing restrictions due to the effect it has across the board on health services.
The planned action included the workers not co-operating with HSE advisers and banning non-emergency overtime and out-of-hours work and a refusal to cover posts which remained unfilled because of the recruitment ban.
IMPACT has not ruled out work stoppages in the future.
Unions reject PFI plans
TRADE UNIONS in the Six Counties have commented on a report on the first phase of a private finance initiative to provide new civil service offices and called for the rest of the project to be abandoned.
The report on the ‘Workplace 2010’ scheme stated that civil servants working in a new PFI building felt that they were not working more productively or efficiently.
A spokesperson for the public service union NIPSA, Carmel Gates, said:
“The only value for money in this is for the profiteers, not the public sector.”