12 November 2009 Edition
24 November public service strike likely
Nurses, paramedics, gardaí and firefighters march on Dáil this week
THE public service strike in the 26 Counties on 24 November looks unavoidable in the face of Government inaction, trade union leaders warned this week.
The statement came as thousands of emergency services workers, members of the 24/7 Frontline Service Alliance – including nurses, paramedics, gardaí, firefighters and prison officers – marched to Leinster House on Wednesday afternoon in opposition to public spending cuts being mooted in next month’s Budget and by the McCarthy (‘Bord Snip’) Report.
While calling for maximum support, the 24/7 Frontline Service Alliance maintained that it did not intend to affect the delivery of frontline services in any way.
Workers belonging to the 24/7 Frontline Service Alliance will be lobbying TDs and senators this weekend.
The head of the Public Service Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Peter McLoone of IMPACT, regretted that it seems conflict seems inevitable as the unions were still waiting for firm proposals from Government about plans for what the Fianna Fáil/Green Party administration is calling the transformation of public services in the coming year.
The IMPACT leader said people need clear details of the Government’s transformation programme and how it would affect individual workers and the quality of provision of public service delivery.
Public sector workers also need to be assured about their pay, pensions and that there will be no compulsory redundancies, he said.
The Irish Nurses’ Organisation has voted overwhelmingly to back the strike on 24 November, with 85% in favour.
Nurses’ leader Liam Doran said that there is anger amongst public service workers about “being on the receiving end of threats from Government, of ever-increasing workloads, and of no-one acknowledging the contribution that they have already made”, adding:
“I don’t see how nurses can do more. They have already contributed in the form of the pension levy, a complete freeze on appointing nursing posts and increasing levels of demand upon the health service.’
The huge vote in favour of strike action, Liam Doran said, is an expression of anger and “always being told they have to do more and being portrayed by Government and some sections of society as somehow being a leech on society”. This is “unfair, unwarranted and unjust”, the INO leader said and Government does not recognise the contribution public sector workers have contributed to date.