University Hospital Waterford: Unite warns dispute set to spread to all support staff

Flags with Tony KUp to 350 support staff employed by HSE to be balloted for action

Threatened escalation follows HSE decision to apply for injunction

March 2nd: Unite, which represents all support staff at University Hospital Waterford, today (Monday) announced that it will be balloting members directly employed by the HSE for industrial action.  Over 125 Unite members working for cleaning services provider Momentum have been on strike since Tuesday 25 February.  The threatened escalation of the dispute to include members directly employed by the HSE follows the HSE’s application to the High Court for an injunction against HSE employees who have refused to pass the pickets placed by their colleagues working for Momentum.

The dispute involving Unite members working for Momentum, which is continuing, centres around unilateral changes to workers’ conditions imposed by Momentum after it took over the provision of cleaning services at the hospital from ISS.  Cleaning workers at the hospital transferred from ISS to Momentum under TUPE last autumn.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Tony Kelly said:

“Rather than instructing Momentum to abide by accepted industrial relations procedures and desist from imposing unilateral changes to our members’ conditions, the HSE decided to aggravate the situation by seeking an injunction against Unite members working for the HSE who refused to pass pickets placed by their Momentum colleagues.

“Following this provocation, a general meeting of Unite members working for the HSE decided to ballot for industrial action unless the HSE withdraw its application to the High Court and immediately instructs Momentum to reverse the unilateral changes to our members’ working conditions.

“The HSE now has a choice.  They can withdraw their application for an injunction and instead instruct Momentum to abide by normal industrial relations procedures – or they can continue adding fuel to the flames and provoke industrial action by all support staff in University Hospital Waterford.

“Resolution of this dispute is in the HSE’s hands”, Tony Kelly concluded.

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