Buckley issues support for St Patrick’s staff after strike ballot
Sinn Féin deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has issued his support for staff in St Patrick’s Mental Health Services who have balloted for strike due to management decision to cease employer contributions to a staff defined benefit pension scheme. He described the decision to engage in industrial action as a regrettable but unavoidable move due to the cavalier actions of management in ceasing payments.
Deputy Buckley said:
“Strike action in a health service setting is a difficult decision to make and I am sure that the nurses who made this decision did so with the interests of those they care for at the forefront of their minds. These staff members are professional and trained to a very high standard. They deserve respect from their employer and proper terms and conditions which ensure their pension is in place for their future.
“No one can be expected to do their job to the best of their ability when they are worried for their future and their employer is undermining that by reneging on agreements made.
“St Patrick’s Mental Health Services staff defined benefit pension scheme members were told in March their employer would be stopping contributions and would transfer its funds to a defined contribution scheme. This came after neither discussion nor consultation with workers or their unions. Employers cannot be allowed to act in this way.
“Sinn Féin earlier this year published the Pensions (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2017 which would have protected against this move by employers. The Bill would have provided for an appeals mechanism where a pension scheme is being wound up by the trustees of that scheme. Unfortunately, despite the Bill passing a vote in the Dáil, the Government, who opposed the measure, have not allowed it to progress further.”