SIPTU ambulance staff to ballot for strike actionThursday 19 June 2014 17.02
HSE National Ambulance Service personnel belonging to SIPTU are to ballot for strike action in a row over two binding Labour Court recommendations which the HSE has failed to implement.
Those balloting for industrial action will include advanced paramedics, emergency medical technicians, controllers and patient transport service personnel.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser Paul Bell said staff had no alternative but to ballot for strike action in pursuit of implementation of two Labour Court recommendations which were issued over a year ago under the binding terms of the Haddington Road Agreement.
Mr Bell said both recommendations were extremely significant.
He said they dealt with issues of redeployment resulting from the restructuring of services operated by the National Ambulance Service.
The first recommendation addressed staff redeployment following the closure of Ambulance Command and Control Centres around the country in favour of a two-centre Command and Control operation in Ballyshannon and Dublin.
He described the recommendation as "groundbreaking", because it confirmed the right of staff to be redeployed to suitable posts not just within the ambulance service, but also within the wider public service.
He said the Health Service Oversight body which monitors implementation of the HRA had called for implementation of the recommendations, but that the HSE had "totally stonewalled" without explanation.
He noted that if staff back industrial action, it will be the first strike under the HRA, which has an industrial peace clause.
The ballot is due to be completed by 18 July.
It is expected that the Chair of the Health Service Oversight Body, Labour Relations Commission Director of Conciliation Kevin Foley, will be seeking a meeting with the HSE and SIPTU in a bid to avert strike action and to bring finality to this long-running row.