Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1049/29329

From The Socialist newspaper, 3 July 2019

Irish health workers' anger boils over into strike action

A series of health workers have struck in Ireland, photo by Heggyhomolit/CC

A series of health workers have struck in Ireland, photo by Heggyhomolit/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Ciarán McKenna, Siptu Education Sector and Section Organiser, Dublin City University (personal capacity)

On 24 June over 10,000 workers in the Irish health service took strike action, ignoring Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar's last minute plea to call it off. This was the first day in a campaign of escalating strike action.

All are members of Siptu, the largest union in Ireland, and are in the support grades - healthcare assistants, kitchen staff, porters, chefs - in public hospitals and healthcare facilities.

The key issue is the refusal of the health bosses to implement an agreed job evaluation scheme for these workers. But the strike has much wider political significance.

It is the third major strike action by health workers so far this year, as workers' anger increases in the face of the ongoing collapse of the public system.

In January and February 40,000 nurses and midwives struck over their abysmal and deteriorating conditions, as well as poor pay. This resulted in a very poor deal being agreed which did not fundamentally address the causes of the strike.

Paramedics, members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (Nasra - a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association), with the support and assistance of the Socialist Party, have been engaged for months in industrial action as they fight to gain recognition from the Health Service Executive.

The latter union is one of the few unions who remain outside of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), a body which has acted over the years as a permanent obstacle to workers taking militant action in defence of their interests.

The major problem is that every three years or so a 'deal' is struck between the public sector unions, through the ICTU, and the state, to regulate pay and conditions for public servants.

Since 2008 these deals have involved massive concessions by workers in terms of pay cuts, the deterioration of employment conditions and hugely increased workloads due to ongoing staff shortages.

Disgracefully, the deal struck in 2013 included some of the most authoritarian anti-worker legislation ever passed in Ireland.

The latest agreement reached in 2017 - the Public Sector Stability Agreement - is the first to engage in modest pay restoration. In reality, restoring pay back to where it was in 2008!

Privatisation

During the austerity years workers in the health services redoubled their efforts to keep the health system functioning despite massive cuts in state funding. Right wing governments have a clear agenda to underfund the system as a prelude to privatisation.

Although we do not have a national health service in Ireland, workers and the trade union movement nonetheless have a deep commitment to a public health system and the principle of free care.

The capitalist establishment in Ireland, however, are intent on privatising the public system by stealth. Part of this agenda is the systematic degradation of conditions for workers in the system.

There is an ongoing crisis in retention of doctors and consultants, this replicates the crisis in the retention of nursing staff.

Support staff have over the years taken on a huge amount of additional work and the job evaluation process was meant to ensure that this increase in work was matched by increases in pay. The health bosses, backed by a Thatcherite Fine Gael government, have decided to try fight the workers on this.

It is clear what the bosses' endgame is: to outsource trade union jobs in the support grades and farm out support functions to the private sector. Outsourcing is the key establishment tactic in the privatisation agenda. This cannot be allowed to happen.

Opposing outsourcing in all circumstances must be supported by all trade unions and socialists. We offer full support to the Siptu support workers in their struggle.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 3 July 2019:


Workplace news

Angry Usdaw members strike at Sainsbury's distribution centre over sick pay cut

Sick of your boss? Join a union! Fight for socialism

Construction workers protest in defence of union rights and against anti-worker EU

Socialists in PCS union launch new group to fight general secretary election

Steps forward and missed opportunities at Unite rules conference

London Arriva bus drivers vote for strike action over bullying and workload

Birmingham school strike for safe working environment

Lancashire Stagecoach drivers continue their fight

Birmingham uni workers strike against terms and conditions attacks


What we think

Sinister moves against Corbyn can be beaten by clear socialist policies


News

Same old millionaire Tories - Fight to kick them out

Nationalisation is answer to Southern Water cover up

Gig-economy exploitation doubles

Even social-care bosses say cuts have gone too far

Them & Us

What we saw


Stonewall riots

Stonewall riots' legacy shows need for socialist struggle to win LGBT+ liberation


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist Party secures new offices

Angry Barking residents protest outside sales office

Tamil Solidarity Day: Linking up oppressed people's struggles

Coventry says no to congestion charge

Carlisle Labour/Lib Dem coalition cuts care home beds

Sell the Socialist and take out an e-subscription

Lincoln Uni NUS disaffiliation: a question of on-campus democracy

Stourbridge: Keep our college!


International socialist news and analysis

New opportunity to build working-class fightback after voters punish Erdogan

Irish health workers' anger boils over into strike action


Opinion

The Socialist inbox

TV: Years and Years - Engaging family drama pushes confused, reactionary message


 

Home   |   The Socialist 3 July 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Ireland:

triangleSouthern Ireland elections

triangleNorthern Ireland: Socialist wins council seat

triangleSocialist red lines needed for Brexit talks

triangleNorthern Ireland: killing of Lyra McKee

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Fighting sectarianism in Northern Ireland

Workers:

triangleTories prepare to attack education workers' pensions

triangleInterview: protests over killing in Israel

triangleThem & Us

triangleThe 45th anniversary of the strike

Strike:

triangleTransport strike - blockade foils employers

triangleHealth visitors strike for the first time ever

triangleBradford NHS workers strike against privatisation

Health:

triangleEven social-care bosses say cuts have gone too far

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The mental health crisis

Pay:

triangleNewham housing repairs workers announce strike dates

International

International

17/7/19

Greece

Greece elections: Syriza ousted amid voter disillusionment

17/7/19

Israel

Interview: protests over killing in Israel

17/7/19

Sudan

Sudan masses mobilise against state repression

3/7/19

Ireland

Irish health workers' anger boils over into strike action

3/7/19

Turkey

New opportunity to build working-class fightback after voters punish Erdogan

26/6/19

Sudan

Sudan solidarity protests

26/6/19

Iran

Ratcheting up of Iran-US tensions

19/6/19

Sudan

Sudan: The revolution under threat

19/6/19

Hong Kong

Chinese regime's puppet government in Hong Kong pushed back by mass protests

12/6/19

Ireland

Southern Ireland elections

12/6/19

Nigeria

Nigeria: Stop police harassment of Abbey and Azeez!

12/6/19

Sudan

Sudan: Military crackdown to break revolution

5/6/19

Counter-revolution

Counter-revolution in Sudan

5/6/19

India

India: Modi victory underlines need for real socialist fightback

29/5/19

EU

Euro elections 2019 - Across Europe

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999