Dispute with HSE on privatisation of recruitment functions

The union has informed the HSE that it is officially in a trade dispute on privatisation through the outsourcing of recruitment services.

The head of Fórsa’s Health and Welfare division, Ashley Connolly, announced this evening when speaking to delegates at Fórsa’s Health and Welfare divisional conference. The conference opened in Galway this evening (Wednesday). Ms Connolly said the union takes the matter of outsourcing extremely seriously: “We will not tolerate the privatisation of our members core work. We will not allow recruitment agencies to come in and take the work of our members, work that should go to direct employees.

“We have notified the HSE that we are in a trade dispute, and that we will be commencing a process of engagement with our members on this issue. We will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our members core work,” she said.

Dispute on privatisation motions

Delegates at the conference in Galway supported a number of motions this evening on what the union describes as a ‘creeping’ privatisation of health services, which it said has the effect of undermining and diluting some of the HSE’s own services.

Fórsa represents 33,000 health workers across the country including health and social care professionals, clerical, administrative, management and technical staff.

Fórsa delegate Paddy Payne tabled a motion, urging the union to urgently negotiate for in-house recruitment services, as the HSE continues to use recruitment services for clerical, administrative and Health and Social Care Professional (HSCP) posts.

Mr Payne, who works in the HSE’s Fair Deal office in Tullamore, said the use of private firms set a ‘dangerous’ precedent. He told delegates: “I’ve had first hand experience of dealing with these private sector recruitment agencies. They’ve no feel for the administration of the HSE.

“They’re very difficult and inflexible to deal with, and they have a very poor knowledge of health services. The HSE should recruit more staff and in-source the recruitment function.

“If there are gaps in staffing the HSE needs to recruit staff directly. Private outsourcing has been a failure,“ he said.

The Offaly branch motion described the outsourcing of recruitment to private sector recruitment firms as ‘unacceptable’, and said private companies provided an inefficient and unaccountable service to interview candidates and boards.

A motion by Fórsa’s Cork Health and Local Government branch called on the union’s executive to adopt a policy position opposing involvement by for-profit companies in the provision of alternative care to children who are in care of the state.

A motion from Limerick delegates sought to establish the extent to which the health care budget is being spent on private companies to which work has been outsourced, and for the information to be used to protect health jobs from the threat of health care privatisation.

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