21 January 2010 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

Strike notice at Mater Private Hospital

UNION members at the Mater Private Hospital have pledged to resist what they call “illegal and unnecessary pay cuts” by serving strike notice that includes a full withdrawal of labour from the start of next month.
Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Association (INMO) and SIPTU have been angered by pay cuts of between 5% and 7.5% in basic pay and a 5% reduction in allowances from 1 January.
There are 900 staff at the private medical centre but not all are union members.
A joint statement by the INMO and SIPTU said:
“As the Mater Private is a profit-making organisation, these imposed, unagreed pay cuts are in fact illegal and unnecessary.”
INMO Industrial Relations Officer Albert Murphy added:
“These pay cuts are totally unnecessary and we will continue to seek their removal as we believe that this is an example of cheap opportunism, where an employer seeks to exploit the long-standing goodwill of employees.”
SIPTU Health Sector Organiser Paul Bell said the hospital has refused to enter any meaningful dialogue with unions on the pay cuts.
“The focus of our dispute is the failure of management to negotiate with the unions as required by existing agreements regarding wage rates and security of employment.”


Limerick hospital action intensifies

A WORK-TO-RULE by nurses at the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick in protest against overcrowding at the hospital was intensified this week.
Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation and SIPTU refused additional duties, including answering telephones, pushing hospital trolleys and booking non-emergency taxis.
Mary Fogarty of the INMO said:
“Members from both unions remain resolute that the current approach to hospital overcrowding is not in any way securing a hospital-wide response.”
INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said that what is required now is a system-wide recognition that Emergency Department (ED) overcrowding is a symptom of a health service that is failing to recognise the limitations that exist without the necessary resources provided.
“ED consultants should collectively require their in-patient consultant colleagues to dramatically change their work practices, increase their ward rounds, reduce their elective admissions and improve their patient discharge system immediately in the face of the reality facing the hospitals in which they work.”
The INMO also highlighted the “abject failure” of Health Minister Mary Harney, despite her declaration of a national emergency in March 2006, to resolve ED overcrowding through the introduction of appropriate policies, required resources and targeted initiatives.


Element Six rehires sacked staff through agency

SIPTU has challenged Shannon-based diamond manufacturer Element Six about its rationale for sacking 200 staff last year now that many of them have been rehired on a short-term basis through a recruitment agency.
The union claims that workers’ pay and conditions are far less than those agreed between the employer and the union.
SIPTU Shannon Industrial Branch Organiser Mary O’Donnell has written to the company and Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan to argue that “many of those compulsory redundancies were not necessary”.
This has been reinforced by the fact that ex-employees had been taken on again within weeks if not days of being made redundant in the first place.

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