IMPACT’s national secretary for health, Louise O’Donnell, has said that the union will oppose any attempt by the HSE to seek payroll savings beyond what was agreed under the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement.
Ms O’Donnell was responding to a briefing by the HSE on its national service plan, which includes a figure of €108m in non-specified savings which the health body says will be identified in a process involving various strands of government in the new year. “Our position is that payroll savings have been achieved under Haddington Road and we won’t be getting involved in anything separate to that. I’ve communicated that message to the HSE” she said.
Ms O’Donnell added that the HSE was too vague about how the figure is to be saved. “The question arises as to who exactly is running the health service if the process of identifying these non-specified savings is to involve the Taoiseach’s office, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and others. What is clear is that IMPACT members have delivered agreed savings already up to 2016, so no more can be asked of them in this regard.”
Ms O’Donnell also raised concerns about the fact that the HSE had not made provision for the terms of the European Working Time Directive in its 2014 plan for social care workers in various sectors. IMPACT and other unions have already raised concerns that the HSE and other voluntary employers are in breach of Irish and EU working time legislation, and that many staff are expected to work 55-70 hours a week.
Ms O’Donnell said “I note with interest that provision has been made on the working time directive for doctors. The fact that similar provision has not been made in respect of social care workers leaves a significant gap in the planning for 2014.”