IMPACT promises ‘hard line’ on St Michael’s House cuts

IMPACT trade union has said it will take a hard line when it meets management at St Michael’s House this morning (Monday) to discuss proposed cuts to services and staff. The union says it will resist plans to cut services following a proposed HSE funding cut of €1 million, which comes on top of €12 million in savings delivered since 2008 plus €1 million additional savings scheduled under the Haddington Road agreement.

IMPACT official Catherine Keogh said plans to cut 40 staff breached the Haddington Road agreement and would devastate services in one of the country’s largest providers of community-based services to people with intellectual disabilities. She said today’s meeting had been scheduled to discuss the implementation of payroll savings under the Haddington Road agreement, but management had now written to staff saying it was seeking further cuts including job losses, close of day, residential and respite services, Sunday closures, and reduced transport services.

“We will be telling management that these cuts are unacceptable and that staff cannot be expected to simply cooperate with them. Our members voted to accept with the Haddington Road agreement – even though it means more work for less pay – because they were told it would maintain decent services in difficult times. Instead, the HSE is attempting to set aside the protections of the deal and cut vital services to some of our most vulnerable citizens. It’s a disgrace and a con. Like staff, the families of St Michael’s clients are rightly angry and the HSE will have to think again,” she said.

Ms Keogh said staff at St Michael’s had demonstrated the willingness and ability to deliver savings and reforms, but that this could only continue if staff and services were protected. “Under the Croke Park agreement we have delivered reforms that have saved over €3 million a year. The changes have included extended working time, new rosters and redeployments to help management cope with fewer staff,” she said.