IMPACT will serve notice of industrial action on the HSE next week unless health employers respond quickly to staff anger at management’s failure to reinstate a job evaluation scheme, which was suspended at the outset of the economic crash. The warning came as the union announced today (Friday) that 87% of health service clerical, administrative and management staff have backed industrial action in a ballot on the issue.
IMPACT says health employers are in breach of the Lansdowne Road agreement, which contains a commitment to reactivate the health service job evaluation scheme. The union says it reached agreement that the scheme would be reintroduced for clerical and administrative staff from 1st June 2016, but management subsequently reneged on the deal.
The scheme offers staff the prospect of an upgrading if their job roles and responsibilities are found to have increased sufficiently. Its eight-year suspension has led to a backlog of existing and potential applications from workers who believe they have taken on substantial extra responsibilities as staff numbers fell significantly during the crisis.
IMPACT national secretary Eamonn Donnelly said his union had identified job evaluation as a core issue in last year’s Lansdowne Road talks.
“Health employers and government ministers repeatedly say that Lansdowne Road is the only game in town. Our health service members backed the Lansdowne Road deal on the clear understanding that it would deliver the reopening of the HSE job evaluation scheme. Staff, who are fully compliant with the Lansdowne Road agreement, can’t understand how management now expects to pick and choose the bits it wants to abide by.
“None of the modestly-paid workers – most of them women – involved in this dispute want to take industrial action. But today’s ballot result is a measure of their anger at management’s decision to renege on their agreement. Management needs to listen to its staff, and reach a solution, if we are to avoid a conflict that nobody wants,” he said.
Job evaluation is an established management tool that allows the knowledge, skill and responsibilities associated with individual jobs – rather than grades or staff categories – to be assessed and appropriately rewarded. While a job evaluation doesn’t guarantee an upgrading, many health staff believe their roles have grown considerably as they have taken on more work and responsibility over the years.
The union says it will serve notice of industrial action – and outline the precise form of its protest – in the middle of next week, unless a resolution is found.