Fórsa and other health unions are working to win recognition for the effort and commitment shown by health workers during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of their ‘Respect = Recognition’ campaign.
And the union is asking members to support the campaign by completing this short survey, which will help strengthen the case it’s putting to the Government and Labour Court.
In the meantime, the unions have referred the row to the Labour Court, which is expected to bring the parties together in mid-September. This comes after HSE representatives failed to table an offer at a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) hearing in early August. They said they had no mandate from the Government.
This was despite comments by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly the week before in Limerick, where he said that he “definitely want[s] to see some form of recognition for the extraordinary work that they've all put in.”
Engagements with the HSE since last November have resulted in no progress despite public statements from An Taoiseach, and other senior Government figures, in which they supported proposals to recognise health workers’ extraordinary contribution during the pandemic.
The group of unions have since also asked Micheál Martin to step in to help resolve the row. In a letter dated 13th August, they called on the Taoiseach to “intervene immediately to authorise the HSE and relevant Government departments to engage with health service unions to agree and implement the promised recognition without any further delay.”
Speaking to RTÉs Radio One, the head of Fórsa’s Health and Welfare division, Éamonn Donnelly, said the campaign was a call for recognition for health workers for what they have given “and the extraordinary demands placed on them by a national health emergency and a global health pandemic.”
“The vaccination rollout success hasn’t happened by accident,” he said.
Éamonn called on the HSE and relevant Government departments to engage with health service unions to agree and implement the promised recognition without any further delay.
The group of unions have said they want employer representatives to come to the table and have a “real discussion” about a range of options consistent with the messaging from Government.
Tony Fitzpatrick, who chairs the ‘Staff Panel’ of health service unions, has described the current impasse as “deeply damaging” to the morale of all health care workers.
Health workers in Northern Ireland, France, Denmark and elsewhere have been offered some form of tangible recognition for their work during the pandemic crisis.
The national staff panel of health care workers unions represents members of the INMO, SIPTU, Fórsa, IMO, MLSA, UNITE, CONNECT, and the craft group of unions.
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