Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly, has called on the Minister’s for Health and Finance to liaise with SIPTU representatives in an effort to avoid a 24-hour strike planned by 10,000 health support staff.

Deputy Donnelly said, “It is paramount that this strike action is avoided. There are 15 days between now and planned day of action on the 20th of June, and the Minister’s must work with SIPTU representatives to address the issues.

“Already this year we’ve seen 35,000 Irish nurses and midwives take industrial action and the effects of that left the entire hospital network reeling. If the 10,000 health support staff go through with their strike action, 38 hospitals across Ireland will be under immense pressure to deliver services for their patients.

“At the nub of the issue is the Government’s commitment to carry out a job evaluation scheme for health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, and surgical instrument technicians as well as chefs, porters and household and catering employees.

“During negotiations on the last Public Service Stability Agreement the Government agreed to carry out job evaluations to ascertain where and how job roles had changed and if remuneration should be increased to match any changes.

“The Government must adhere to their side of the bargain or risk jeopardising further negotiations with trade union representatives.

“Health support staff are pivotal, they are the backbone of our hospital networks and keep the wheels turning, their importance can’t be underestimated, and the Government can’t take them for granted”, he concluded.