Hospitals are beginning to warn patients of the possibility of service disruption ahead of a 24-hour strike by 10,000 Health Service Executive support staff planned for Thursday.
In a tweet, St James Hospital in Dublin said it was awaiting guidance from the HSE at national level in relation to how this will impact on patient services.
It advises patients to monitor local and national news outlets for updates, which will also be published on the hospital's website.
*PATIENT NOTICE* @SIPTU @siptuhealth to undertake Industrial Action at a national level, including St. James's Hospital. First action is a 24-hour strike on Thursday, June 20th. We await guidance from HSE nationally. Patients advised to monitor local & national news for updates. pic.twitter.com/kuqyvccuNn— St. James's Hospital (@stjamesdublin) June 14, 2019
Exploratory talks at the Workplace Relations Commission aimed at resolving the dispute adjourned yesterday without agreement, but will resume on Monday.
Affected grades include health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs, and surgical instrument technicians, as well as workers in portering, household and catering services.
SIPTU has already warned that if the dispute is not resolved, five further strikes will take place on 25 and 26 June, as well as 2, 3 and 4 July.
38 hospitals and health-care facilities face serious industrial disruption due to the planned action, but the HSE has not yet indicated what contingency arrangements will be in place, and when it might start to cancel procedures and appointments.
This evening, the HSE said that it had not issued any instructions regarding cancellations as the talks process is still ongoing.
The dispute centres on a job evaluation scheme for the grades in question, which found that their roles had expanded giving rise to pay increases worth up to €3,000 a year.
However, SIPTU has accused the HSE, the Department of Health and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform of reneging on the agreement and failing to implement the pay rises.