Support staff strike continues at STGH & UHL

Photo: Tipp FM/Pat Murphy

Around 120 support staff at South Tipp General Hospital are among thousands across the country who have gone on strike today.

10 thousand of them have downed tools for the next 24 hours as part of a pay dispute.

The biggest impact of today’s SIPTU strike action will be on surgeries, inpatient and outpatient procedures.

Patients are being told to expect significant disruption due to the dispute over a jobs evaluation scheme.

Francis Lonergan is a Shop Steward and Strike Committee member at South Tipp General Hospital.

He says they would much prefer to be working today

The government’s been accused of squandering an opportunity to resolve the health workers dispute.

Today’s strike is the first of 4 planned days, with 3 more of them next week.

Talks between SIPTU, the HSE and Department of Public Expenditure broke down earlier this week after they failed to reach an agreement.

SIPTU members are owed €16.2 million – however the offer from the Government was said to be 1.2 million.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wants SIPTU to agree to more talks to try and find a resolution:

But Paul Bell from SIPTU doesn’t think that would achieve much – and says the solution is within the government’s grasp:

Support staff are covering emergencies during the strike action.

Catering is also affected – with some hospitals serving soup and sandwiches rather than a full meal.

Francis Lonergan says unfortunately the action is having an impact on patients.