SIPTU members in Clifden District Hospital and St Anne's Community Nursing Unit in Clifden, Co Galway are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over changes to their conditions of employment.

The ballot will commence on 14 November and the workers are threatening to take industrial action, up to and including strike action.

"The dispute in these facility centres on sweeping changes to the conditions of employment of our members, including unilaterally withdrawing provisions within their standard sick leave scheme," said SIPTU Organiser Yvonne McGrath.

Clifden District Hospital provides respite, post-acute step-down beds for patients and St. Anne’s Community Nursing Unit provides residential care for older people in the community.

The facilities are managed by HSE Community Healthcare West.

"The changes that management has imposed on us, without agreement, include moving staff from one service to another with little notice, reducing break times, increasing night duty and withdrawing access to flexible working patterns," said SIPTU member and Clifden District Hospital worker Martina McHugh.

In a brief statement, HSE Community Healthcare West confirmed that it has received written notification from the union stating that it is balloting for industrial action.

SIPTU says that at the end of September, HSE Community Healthcare West withdrew from a process at the Workplace Relations Commission aimed at resolving the issues.

The union says it remains available to engage with the HSE to resolve the outstanding issues in line with the terms of public service agreements.