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PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes has written to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris deploring the refusal of the HSE to engage in talks at the WRC and calling on him to intervene in the dispute on the right of PNA ambulance personnel to be members of , and represented by, the union of their choice.
Ref: PH/EM 0119
Mr Simon Harris T.D.
Minister for Health,
Department of Health
50 – 58 Lower Baggot Street,
Dear Minister Harris
As you are aware PNA ambulance personnel members will engage in a full withdrawal of labour on the 22 nd of January 2019 on the substantive issue of their right to be members of, and represented by, a trade union of their choice. Despite our best efforts to date the HSE have refused to engage with this union at any level on this issue except through correspondence containing threats of injunction and to include sanctions against our members through the HSE retained legal company Byrne Wallace.
Apart from the clear abdication of responsibility by the HSE to attempt to resolve this issue by negotiation, we view their approach as a significant abuse of public funding. We note in your response to Parliamentary Questions to Deputy Claire Daly and Senator David Norris that you welcomed our deferral of this dispute to the WRC and that you prefer negotiation rather than dispute.
Regretfully this is a realistic response not held by the HSE on this issue as demonstrated by their refusal to engage through the established industrial relations process, and their failure to date to accept the invitation to the WRC with a view to resolving this issue without the need for a withdrawal of labour. It is our view that this policy of non-communication on such a serious matter only adds to public concern regarding the provision of adequate contingencies on the day in question. This approach by the HSE is totally unacceptable.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Friday 18th January) that the refusal of the HSE to respond to invitations from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to talks to find a resolution to the dispute on the right of 500 PNA ambulance personnel to be members of the union is irresponsible, and a flagrant abdication of HSE's responsibility to engage in resolving this legitimate dispute.
PNA ambulance personnel members will hold a one-day national strike on next Tuesday (Jan 22 nd .) in pursuit of their demand to be members of, and represented by, the union of their choice.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the HSE has now ignored two requests from the WRC to attend talks to find a resolution to the dispute, which commenced with phased industrial action last November.
‘For the HSE to refuse to attend WRC talks and continue to attempt to resolve this dispute through their lawyers is irresponsible in the extreme, and goes against all standards of good industrial relations. Highly professional and dedicated ambulance personnel find themselves forced to the brink of a national strike because of an incomprehensible stand by the HSE to try to deny them the right to be members of the union of their choice, and to force them to be members of a union that they have repeatedly shown they do not want to be members of.'
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Thursday , 13th Dec.) that the planned one day strike by PNA ambulance personnel members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) which was to take place on Wednesday 19th December has been deferred to Tuesday 22nd January .
PNA is now seeking an urgent referral to the WRC on both the substantive issue of the continued refusal by the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing its ambulance branch, and the refusal of the HSE to negotiate contingency plans for industrial action by ambulance personnel.
Thursday, 29 th Nov.: The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Thurs. 29 th Nov.) that its ambulance personnel members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) will hold a one day national strike on Wednesday 19 th December in pursuit of their right to be represented by the trade union of their choice.
The one-day national strike by the PNA's 500 ambulance personnel members is the third phase of industrial action which commenced on October 10 th in protest at the continued refusal by the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing its ambulance branch, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members. The national strike will commence at 7 a.m. on Wednesday 19 th . December and run until 5 p.m. that day.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the strike was a serious escalation in a dispute which is entirely of the HSE's making and which PNA have repeatedly asked the HSE to resolve.