Mullingar nurses protest over understaffing and “compromised care”

Press Release – 19.7.21

 

members in the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar will protest outside the hospital today (Monday) against understaffing and an excessive workload – which they warn is compromising patient care.

Mullingar is facing 50 unfilled nursing shifts over the coming fortnight, falling short of the minimum staffing levels required for safe care.

Attendances have increased, while there are currently 50 nursing vacancies (29 permanent) in the hospital, which is putting staffing under pressure.

The INMO have engaged with the HSE to try and find a resolution to this issue and are not satisfied with the response to safety concerns raised.

The hospital aim to recruit for the posts, but the shortfall will not be made up until the end of August at the earliest. Assistance from St. Francis Private Hospital has also been sought.

INMO members are calling on hospital management to restrict services, close beds and divert scheduled care to private hospitals in order to protect standards of care, patients, and staff.

The nurses’ protest will take place at the front gate of Mullingar Hospital from 1pm to 2pm on Monday 19 July.

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations Albert Murphy said:

“It has been an incredibly challenging year and our members have had enough. They are facing increasing demands with too few staff. They are rightly concerned that patient care is being compromised.

“Hospital management need to urgently recruit the necessary staff, but they need to be realistic about the hospital’s current capacity. Work needs to be scaled back to ensure safe care.

“That means closing beds in the short run and making decisions on which care has to be prioritized. Our members cannot be expected to work in environments which compromise their health and safety.”

A nurse in the hospital, speaking anonymously, said:

“I have worked in this hospital for decades and have never seen things so bad. The waves of COVID were genuinely draining and we are now facing huge volumes of patients.

“We simply don’t have the staff to do the job safely. We’ve got a brilliant team in the hospital, but we’re at our wits’ end. We’re simply exhausted. I’m worried that patient care is being put at risk.

“Many of my colleagues are sadly now simply thinking of leaving the hospital, or even the profession.”

-end-

SIPTU calls for ‘blended working’ options for all public sector workers

SIPTU representatives have today (Wednesday, 14th July) said that ‘blended working’ arrangements should be made available, where possible, to workers throughout the public service and state sector.

The call follows the publication by the Government of its ‘Blended Working Policy Statement’ which facilitates civil service workers switching from pandemic-related remote working provisions to more long-term ‘blended working’ arrangements.

SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, John King, said: “This is a welcome, albeit overdue, move from the Government and will go some way towards honouring the commitment in the Programme for Government for one-fifth of public sector workers to be working from home in 2021. Throughout the pandemic, our members in the state sector and public service found remote working challenging. However, many found the experience broadly positive and productive.

“We need to now agree a fair, transparent and flexible framework for ‘blended working’ to be rolled out across the entire public service without delay. This kind of framework has the potential to increase productivity, enhance our members work-life balance, reduce traffic congestion and drive a more balanced economic recovery across the country.”

He added: “For months, SIPTU representatives have been engaging with employers in the state and higher education sectors on new and innovative initiatives towards working that are now at an advanced stage. However, consistency is key. Many employers were waiting for direction from central government and the publication of this ‘Blended Working Policy Statement’ has finally given our representatives the opportunity to follow up on these issues and negotiate blended working policies. At the centre of these policies we will be seeking to place equity in access, proper worker protections and the provision of quality public services.”

WFTU IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE WORKERS AND PEOPLE OF CUBA

The World Federation of Trade Unions, which is the militant voice of 105 million workers in 133 countries on five continents, conveys its internationalist solidarity to the Cuban workers and People. We strongly condemn the recent provocations orchestrated by counterrevolutionary elements in Cuba, organised and financed from the United States for destabilising purposes. Come out and support our Cuban Friends by going to the Cuban Embassy, On Westland Square off Pearse Street on Wednesday 14th at 9am. Stand with Cuba.
 
The world class-oriented trade union movement supports the Cuban People in their struggle against these actions. We demand the lifting of the criminal blockade that for 60 years has been creating serious problems for the economy and the lives of the Cuban people.
 
We support the right of the Cuban People to decide for themselves, freely and democratically, about their present and future, without the intervention of the imperialists. We salute the workers of Cuba, who during the Pandemic demonstrated the solidarity and internationalism of a system that does not treat health and the needs of the people as commodities and that opposes the exploitation of man by man.
 
We assure the heroic Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC) that we are firmly on their side to repel this new anti-Cuban provocation.  Together until the victory, always.
 
 

SIPTU members to take industrial action in Doyle Shipping Group at Dublin Port

SIPTU members employed by Doyle Shipping Group (DSG) at Dublin Port have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute concerning their pay, terms and conditions of employment and safety concerns within their workplace.

SIPTU Organiser, Jim McVeigh, said: “SIPTU representatives have formally notified DSG management of our members’ intention to take industrial action, in the form of rolling 72-hour work stoppages, commencing on Monday, 19th July. 

“This decision was taken by our members due to the continued refusal of management to recognise SIPTU as their union of choice for the purpose of collective bargaining. Our members in DSG are among the lowest paid workers in Dublin Port. 

“Over recent years they have, through their SIPTU representatives, tried to engage management in negotiations to secure decent wages and conditions of employment. They are deeply concerned and angered by the continued refusal of management to negotiate with them on a collective basis. Their anger has been further compounded by the refusal of management to discuss serious safety concerns.”

He added: “SIPTU representatives are available to immediately engage with management on all the issues in dispute. There is a strong resolve among our members to continue with rolling 72-hour work stoppages until a resolution to their issues is achieved.”

DSG provides a number of services at Dublin Port, including the loading and off-loading of cargo

 

Imposing wage cuts without consultation ” Not reasonable”- WRC

Activists should read this report and consider the findings which favours the applicant( Worker) in defending their wages.

 

Findings:

Findings and Conclusions:

This is a complaint pursuant to the Payment of Wages Act. The Payment of Wages Act 1991 sets out as follows:

5.— (1) An employer shall not make a deduction from the wages of an employee (or receive any payment from an employee) unless—

(a) the deduction (or payment) is required or authorised to be made by virtue of any statute or any instrument made under statute,

(b) the deduction (or payment) is required or authorised to be made by virtue of a term of the employee’s contract of employment included in the contract before, and in force at the time of, the deduction or payment, or

(c) in the case of a deduction, the employee has given his prior consent in writing to it.

(2) An employer shall not make a deduction from the wages of an employee in respect of—

(a) any act or omission of the employee, or

(b) any goods or services supplied to or provided for the employee by the employer the supply or provision of which is necessary to the employment,

unless—

(i) the deduction is required or authorised to be made by virtue of a term (whether express or implied and, if express, whether oral or in writing) of the contract of employment made between the employer and the employee, and

(ii) the deduction is of an amount that is fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances (including the amount of the wages of the employee), and

(iii) before the time of the act or omission or the provision of the goods or services, the employee has been furnished with—

(I) in case the term referred to in subparagraph (i)is in writing, a copy thereof,

(II) in any other case, notice in writing of the existence and effect of the term,

and

(iv) in case the deduction is in respect of an act or omission of the employee, the employee has been furnished, at least one week before the making of the deduction, with particulars in writing of the act or omission and the amount of the deduction, and

(v) in case the deduction is in respect of compensation for loss or damage sustained by the employer as a result of an act or omission of the employee, the deduction is of an amount not exceeding the amount of the loss or the cost of the damage, and

(vi) in case the deduction is in respect of goods or services supplied or provided as aforesaid, the deduction is of an amount not exceeding the cost to the employer of the goods or services, and

(vii) the deduction or, if the total amount payable to the employer by the employee in respect of the act or omission or the goods or services is to be so paid by means of more than one deduction from the wages of the employee, the first such deduction is made not later than 6 months after the act or omission becomes known to the employer or, as the case may be, after the provision of the goods or services.

Complaint to adjudication officer undersection 41 of Workplace Relations Act 2015

6. (1) A decision of an adjudication officer under section 41 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015, in relation to a complaint of a contravention of section 5 as respects a deduction made by an employer from the wages of an employee or the receipt from an employee by an employer of a payment, that the complaint is, in whole or in part, well founded as respects the deduction or payment shall include a direction to the employer to pay to the employee compensation of such amount (if any) as he considers reasonable in the circumstances not exceeding —

(a) the net amount of the wages (after the making of any lawful deduction therefrom) that —

(i) in case the complaint related to a deduction, would have been paid to the employee in respect of the week immediately preceding the date of the deduction if the deduction had not been made, or

(ii) in case the complaint related to a payment, were paid to the employee in respect of the week immediately preceding the date of payment,

or

(b) if the amount of the deduction or payment is greater than the amount referred to in paragraph (a), twice the former amount.

(2) (a) An adjudication officer shall not give a decision referred to in subsection (1) in relation to a deduction or payment referred to in that subsection at any time after the commencement of the hearing of proceedings in a court brought by the employee concerned in respect of the deduction or payment.

(b) An employee shall not be entitled to recover any amount in proceedings in a court in respect of such a deduction or payment as aforesaid at any time after an adjudication officer has given a decision referred to in subsection (1) in relation to the deduction or payment.

The Payment of Wages Act prohibits the making of deductions from an employee’s wages unless required or authorised by the Act or the employee has consented to the deduction.

It is for the Complainant to show in the first instance that wages were properly payable to her and not paid by the Respondent. 

The evidence presented to me was that while the Respondent expected a downturn in income, the ultimate outcome was not as bad as expected. Revenue for 2020 was down 12% on 2019.  The Respondent for a period implemented the Temporary Wage Subsidies Scheme (TWSS). However, it did not meet the eligibility criteria and repaid the amount it received to the Irish Exchequer.

As regards the variation clause in the Complainant’s contract, such clauses are intended to permit minor non-material changes, which do not relate to core terms, such as updates to reflect changes in law or statute or a change in a work practice.

While I accept that the Respondent experienced difficulties due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, I do not accept that the decision to impose the deductions in the Complainant’s salary was reasonable and proportionate considering the Respondent was a multi-national Company and the work the Complainant was doing was not greatly impacted by the Pandemic. 

Imposing pay cuts, even of a temporary nature, without consultation or consent, by reliance on such variation clauses is not reasonable.

I accept the Complainants evidence that 15% of her wages were deducted by the Respondent.   I do not accept that this was a reduction in pay. 

My power under the Payment of Wages Act is to make an order in relation to complaints preceding the date on which the complaint was made.  The complaint was made on the 15/5/2020.

The deductions made to the Complainants pay were spread over five pay periods and were in the following amounts:

Pay period 8 Paid on 17 April 2020 €174.70 (gross)

Pay period 9 Paid on 1 May 2020 €218.38 (gross)

Pay period 10 Paid on 15 May 2020 €218.38 (gross)

Pay period 11 Paid on 29 May 2020 €218.38 (gross)

Pay period 12 Paid on 12 June 2020 €109.19 (gross)

The Complainant was paid fortnightly in arrears.  My jurisdiction in this case covers pay periods 8,9 10 and 11.

 

 

Decision:

Section 41 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 requires that I make a decision in relation to the complaint in accordance with the relevant redress provisions under Schedule 6 of that Act.

I decide that the complaint is well-founded, and that the Respondent shall pay to the Complainant compensation that is reasonable of €829.84.

 

Dated:  June 21st 2021

1990 Industrial Relation Act. It must go. Join A Union

The 1990 industrial relations act took power from workers and transferred it to employers & the courts.

It was inspired by Margaret Thatcher’s anti-worker laws in Britain.

What it took Thatcher several acts to achieve the Irish government got all in one, the 1990 Industrial Relations Act.

Unions must get radical or they will become redundant.

Abolish the 1990 Industrial Relations Act

It’s about the balance of power.

What is the 1990 Industrial Relations Act?
1990 act explained Read here:👇
https://socialistvoice.ie/…/what-is-the-industrial-relati…/…(1990,from%20criminal%20and%20civil%20liability.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS BOOKLET

 

Mandate Launch Exciting and Exclusive Training for Licensed Trade Members

Tuesday 22 June 2021

An exciting and exclusive Mandate Trade Union training initiative has been launched today Tuesday 22nd June 2021 by Jonathan Hogan, Mandate National Coordinator.  Mr Hogan commenting at the launch said, “We are offering a free hospitality training bundle exclusive for all our active licensed trade members. Many employees in pubs and hospitality have, through no fault of their own, lost their jobs and many have suffered financial loss since the onset of the global pandemic. This is an exciting once in a lifetime opportunity for some of our members to avail of a free bespoke comprehensive training package that could potentially be a life changing experience.”

Mandate in partnership with Olive Media have launched this learning initiative which they hope might form an employment stepping stone whilst assisting unemployed members towards improving their Curriculum Vitae with the objective of re-entering employment within the licensed trade sector.

Mr Hogan continued “As a progressive trade union we endeavour to support and facilitate those members who wish to either transfer their skills or to upskill within the hospitality industry for future employment opportunities. We have evidenced many of our members within the licensed trade being forced to seek alternative employment opportunities albeit on temporary contracts within the retail sector since the commencement of the pandemic. Many of these members are expressing a strong desire to return to working within the licensed trade sector when normality fully returns to our workplaces. Mandate will support our members already working within the license trade or seeking to return to the sector through this exclusive upskilling initiative.”

 

 

Return to Work Safely Briefing Seminar for Bar Workers

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Do you work or know someone who works as a Barperson, a Chef/Cook or Waiting Staff in a licensed premises who has either recently returned to work or is due to return to work in the coming days?

Do you/they have concerns around COVID-19 and returning to work safely.

Then look no further. Mandate Trade Union are hosting a Return to Work Safely Briefing Seminar for all licensed premises workers on Thursday 03rd June 2021 at 3pm online via Zoom.

This Seminar is open to both Members & Non-Members of Mandate Trade Union working in the licensed trade sector.

All you have to do is pre-register by clicking here and entering your details: https://tinyurl.com/mkafduzb

Demand for mandatory face masks in social welfare offices

Customers going to shops, banks, hair salons and bookmakers are compelled by law to wear a face mask, but it’s not obligatory in busy social welfare offices that thousands of often-vulnerable people visit in the course of a week.

That’s why delegates to Fórsa’s civil service conference today (Friday) backed calls for face masks to be compulsory in Intreo centres and other civil service public offices.

Speaking from the conference today, the head of Fórsa’s civil service division, Derek Mullen, welcomed the recent re-opening of cultural institutions, libraries and non-essential retail outlets. “We can enjoy these facilities because the law says we must all wear face coverings in shops, libraries, museums, banks, post offices, credit unions, and hair salons and on public transport.

“But this is not the case in public offices across the civil service. These are places that members of the public must visit for essential business, including getting a basic income. They – and the staff who serve them – deserve the same protection and respect as shoppers and shop workers.

“Throughout the pandemic, social welfare staff went in to work and processed two years’ worth of claims in a matter of weeks. Those pandemic unemployment payments made the difference for hundreds of thousands of people who lost their jobs. Yet the staff who did, and are doing, so much for their fellow citizens are being denied the safety standards common in other public places,” he said.

Mr Mullen wrote to health minister Stephen Donnelly almost two months ago, seeking an amendment to official regulations on mandatory face coverings to include Department of Social Protection public offices.

“Despite strict adherence to official Covid-19 safety requirements, we have seen a number of Covid-19 clusters in Intreo centres. Staff are also concerned that anti-maskers will target social protection offices because face coverings are not compulsory. We have examples of anti-maskers arriving at Intreo centres with legislation in hand and correctly asserting that, under the law, they don’t have to wear a face covering. This, and the recent Covid clusters, are deeply distressing and a real concern to staff who don’t have the same protections as other workers in identical or similar settings,” he said.

 

Government under pressure on remote work

The Government is set to come under renewed pressure to negotiate public service-wide safeguards on remote working after Fórsa’s Civil Service Division today (Friday) added its voice to calls for a formal agreement on the issue.

The union says a formal agreement is needed to ensure fair access to remote working arrangements across the civil and public service. It has called for the consistent application of agreed guidelines on identifying functions that can be performed remotely, and for selecting staff to be allocated to home working arrangements.

Fórsa has called for the consistent application of agreed guidelines on identifying functions that can be performed remotely, and for selecting staff to be allocated to home working arrangements.

 

Fórsa says an agreement is needed to prevent individual civil service departments, organisations or managers from withholding the option of remote working without an objective reason.

The union submitted a formal claim to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) in late March, but no engagement has started yet.

Speaking at the Fórsa’s civil service conference today, its Head of Civil Service, Derek Mullen, said 70% his members had worked productively at home at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have witnessed outstanding and productive responses from the public service throughout the last year and we believe that we can continue in that vein into the future. The world of work has been forced to examine itself as a result of Covid-19, and it’s clear that working arrangements can and will change to take account of the new paradigm.

“We know what’s possible once the correct supports are in place. Now we are demanding clear criteria for the selection of staff who will work remotely, along with full compliance with health and safety measures, including mental health, support for those working remotely, and the right to disconnect.

“Importantly, there should be no divergence from existing terms and conditions of employment, including for new hires, for whom remote working should never be a condition of employment,” he said.

Mr Mullen said his union favoured a blended approach, with remote workers spending some time in the office, as this was the strong preference of most Fórsa members surveyed on the issue last summer. He added that remote working should be voluntary, and that remote workers should have access to any flexible working arrangements in place in physical work locations.

Fórsa says a formal agreement needs to be negotiated under the auspices of the new public service agreement, Building Momentum, which commits public service management and unions to accommodate “the potential of remote working where appropriate in line with the Programme for Government” and to establish the public service “as a driver of best practice in this area.”

There should be no divergence from existing terms and conditions of employment, including for new hires, for whom remote working should never be a condition of employment.

 

Making Remote Work, the Government’s remote working strategy, which was published in January, developed Programme for Government commitments on remote working and pledged to make remote working the norm for 20% of public sector staff.

Mr Mullen also praised civil servants who had continued to work from offices and other work locations throughout the pandemic. “In social protection, it is estimated that two years’ worth of claims were processed in a matter of weeks, with over 60% of our members continuing to attend at Intreo centres and other offices. Those pandemic unemployment payments, made the difference for all those who lost their jobs.

“We delivered in social welfare, in Revenue with its temporary wage subsidy schemes, in agriculture, in justice, in the customs service and at border controls. Our law services continued, civilian staff continued to attend at Garda stations and many other departments and offices played their important part.

“It was an enormous effort and it continues to this day and I have never been more proud, after almost 40 years with the trade union movement, to represent our members in the civil service,” he said.

Read the Fórsa claim.

***

Fórsa’s civil service biennial divisional conference takes place online today (Friday 28th May). The union represents over 30,000 civil servants in clerical, executive, professional and technical grades.

The conference can be viewed HERE.

A full conference agenda is available HERE, and a the division’s report is available HERE.

 

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