PNA calls on new HSE Director General to end divisive dispute
Thursday, 23 rd May - The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Thursday) that the first of a series of 24 hour strikes by its ambulance personnel members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) in pursuit of their demand for the right to be represented by the PNA as the union of their choice will take place from 7 a.m. Friday 31 st May to 7 a.m. Saturday 1 st June. The strike by over 500 ambulance personnel members of the PNA is a further escalation of the industrial dispute and more 24-hour strikes will follow on dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
Peter Hughes, PNA General Secretary, said once again the HSE was forcing an escalation in a dispute that is entirely of the HSE's making. To date, PNA ambulance branch members have engaged in a work to rule and have undertaken six strike days since the dispute began.
Peter Hughes said: “It has become very clear that not alone has the HSE refused to engage in the normal industrial relations protocol of agreeing contingency plans for our previous strike days, but it has also exploited the professionalism and dedication of ambulance personnel to ensure that ambulance services are provided even in a strike situation. HSE management have sat back and placed the responsibility of maintaining ambulance cover on our members. As we move to 24 hour strikes it is incumbent on the HSE to comply with custom and practice and negotiate contingency arrangements for the planned 24-hour strike days.”
He said: “The demand by over 500 of our members to be members of, and represented by, the PNA now has strong cross-party political support in the Dáil. However, despite his comments in the Dáil that he wants this dispute referred to the WRC, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris has been incapable of bringing the HSE to its senses and ending this divisive dispute.”
Mr. Hughes added: “It should now be a priority for the new HSE Director General, Paul Reid, to bring this dispute to an end, and stop trying to force ambulance personnel into unions that they have made it clear they are not prepared to be members of. Mr Reid has an opportunity to end this dispute which is impacting on performance and morale within the ambulance services - a vital area of frontline health services.”
Media Contact: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535
Wednesday 15 th May - Ambulance personnel members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) from around the country protested at Leinster House, Kildare St. today (Wednesday 15 th May) at 1 p.m. for a second time in demand of their right to be represented by the PNA as the union of their choice. Today's protest will initiate a new campaign of escalating industrial action with two 24 hour strikes in the coming weeks, with one taking place in the week beginning 27 th May, and the second in the week beginning 3rd June.
Peter Hughes, PNA General Secretary said PNA ambulance branch members were again bringing their protest to Leinster House to ensure that politicians hear the strength of resolve and determination that the members have to secure the basic right to join and be represented by a recognised trade union.
‘That this dispute has been allowed by the HSE to fester and drag on for over a year is a disgrace. This is especially so when the HSE has refused invitations to the WRC and calls from across the political divide to recognise the wishes of ambulance personnel and end this unnecessary dispute. The unanimous support shown at our PNA Annual Delegate Conference in Wexford in recent weeks was heartening, and confirms that this dispute is not going away until the rights of ambulance personnel are respected and vindicated.'
Sinead McGrath, PNA Ambulance Branch Chairwoman, said:
Thursday, 18th April - Ambulance personnel members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) meeting in Mullingar today agreed to escalate theirindustrial action with a rolling series of 24 hour strikes in pursuit of their right to join and be represented by the PNA as the union of their choice. Dates for the series of 24- hour national ambulance strikes will be confirmed at the PNA Annual Delegate Conference on May 2nd. PNA ambulance personnel will also mount a second protest at Dail Eireann on May 15th.