05/02/2010

Bon Secours Dispute Goes To Labour Court

Talks are to begin today at the Labour Relations Commission to resolve a dispute at the Bon Secours Hospital group over pay cuts and job security.

Representatives of SIPTU, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), IMPACT and the Medical Laboratory Scientists' Association served strike notice on the private healthcare provider last week to discontinue work on Monday, leading to referral to the court today.

The first meeting will commence at the LRC at 2.30pm today.

Following the invitation to attend the LRC on Monday, SIPTU and the other unions called off the protest due to take place at the hospital in Glasnevin, Dublin at lunch time.

At the time of the strike notice, a spokesman for Bon Secours said: "Should the strike action proceed, however, Bon Secours Health System will have no option but to implement a contingency plan that will involve the cancellation of non-emergency medical and surgical admissions to all our hospitals with effect from 8th February, 2010.

"Bon Secours Health System is currently in discussions with both unions to agree contingency arrangements sufficient to protect acute and essential services within the hospitals. Further up-dates will be provided when the situation becomes clearer."

The Bon Secours Health System is the largest private healthcare provider in Ireland.

Also today, members of the INMO at Cork University Hospital, the largest hospital in the South of Ireland, have said they were "startled" by "unjustified actions of HSE management" to remove all agency nurses at the hospital.

The INMO said agency nurses are normally relied upon to provide one to one nursing care to extremely ill patients.

Speaking earlier today, Patsy Doyle, INMO Industrial Relations Officer said: "The decision by management to remove agency nurses in Cork University Hospital, a 'centre of excellence', has placed care standards in clear and present danger.

"Today, there are 38 patients on trolleys and an extremely ill patient population which needs expert nursing care. Our members have appealed this radical decision directly to management and we are determined to secure safe standards of care for patients in CUH.

"We call on the HSE to reverse this appalling decision which will deny patients access to safe care."

(DW/Gk)

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