Electricians at St James hospital strike against outsourcing


Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) members at St James are on strike today against management breaking agreed procedures in out sourcing work that includes the resetting and repair of fire alarms.  The electricians have already held two half day stoppages with todays actions following the failure to reach agreement at the Labour Relations Commission last week.

As usual in such disputes the striking workers are providing emergency cover during the action to ensure patients are not adversely affected. Workers in other unions at the hospital who are members of Unite and UCATT have shown solidarity and refused to pass previous pickets leading to the effective closure of the Technical Services Department.

The TEEU says its concerns are about Health & Safety as well as job security.  The TEEU says that  changes being imposed without agreement by the management would "remove electricians from involvement in:
· Repairing and resetting Fire Alarms
· Coordinating and assisting call outs of Dublin Fire Brigade
· Advising Dublin Fire Brigade of detector heads that cause Fire Alarm activations."

The TEEU said the workers objected to this because
· Electricians at the hospital have always maintained and carried out activities involving Fire Alarms and are the appropriately qualified people to do so
· The normal dispute resolution procedures, including involvement of third parties, have not been exhausted
· Unilateral dilution of the role of TEEU members at the hospital will open the door to the transfer of other work and duties.

TEEU Regional Secretary Ian McDonnell revealed that “Despite this the hospital seems ready to ram the changes through any way. Our members balloted for industrial action in March and the union gave notice of the action to management at the hospital. The action was suspended following agreement with management that our members would allow first call resets by security under protest while the third party procedures were utilised. This was on the basis that no further changes would be introduced by management.
“Management dithered over confirming a date with the Labour Relations Commission for a conciliation conference and then unilaterally introduced further changes in the Fire Alarm protocol in June.
“As a result our members have no choice but to reinstate the suspended industrial action inclusive of a work to rule as well as a callout and overtime ban, which have been in place for two weeks. Our members continue to provide emergency cover, which has been utilised by the hospital several times.
“This industrial action is now being escalated to include actual stoppages as recent meetings with management failed to dissuade them from pressing ahead with the introduction of unilateral change. Emergency ‘Life and Limb’ cover by our members will continue.”

Words: Andrew

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