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Minister Harris in Breach of Public Service Stability Agreement – Gavan

8 February, 2019 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has highlighted that Minister for Health Simon Harris is in breach of the Public Service Stability Agreement with regard to the failure of his Government to honour job evaluation pay awards to thousands of HSE support staff made under the agreement.

Speaking on a Commencement Matter in the Seanad, Senator Gavan said:

“Regarding the nurses pay dispute, the mantra from the Minister has consistently been that he cannot breach the terms of the Public Service Stability Agreement, even though ICTU are on record as saying there would be no such breach in dealing with the nurses’ legitimate grievances. Yet, the Minister himself has been in breach of this agreement for four months.

“Phases 1 and 2 of the HSE Support Staff Evaluation process as agreed within the terms of the PSSA was completed on October 4th 2018. This process covered some 7000 employees from a range of support staff functions-Health Care Assistants, Lad Aides, CSSD Operations staff, and Hospital Porters. It recommended a series of pay awards ranging from 5 to 7 percent to reflect the many additional duties these categories of workers have been carrying out.

“Within the terms of this process, any award made is meant to be implemented within 6 weeks. Despite correspondence from the union involved, SIPTU, the HSE refused to engage with this issue before the 2019 estimates were adopted. As a result, no monies were approved to pay for these wards as part of the 2019 HSE budget.

“These workers waited seven years for these evaluations to take place because of the imposition of FEMPI. Now, they find that having followed the agreement to the letter their legitimate pay awards have been ignored by the Minister. Is it any wonder that there is industrial relations chaos in our hospitals? Fine Gael do Industrial Relations like Teresa May does Brexit. The Minister needs to honour the agreement and ensure full payment is made to these workers without any further delay. His credibility is in tatters on this issue.” 

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