Unions to examine severe weather protocols with HSE

Unions representing health workers met with the HSE yesterday (Wednesday 7th March) to examine severe weather protocols, following last week’s status red weather notice.

The HSE staff panel of unions is composed of the INMO, Siptu, Fórsa, IMO, MLSA, Connect and Unite trade unions. Yesterday’s meeting with the HSE’s human resources staff was arranged to look at issues arising in the HSE and in HSE-funded service providers as a result of the extreme weather.

The meeting focused on the need to resolve issues arising for staff who were unable to attend work due to the severe weather, recognition of the efforts of staff who attended for work during the period, and the need for agreement on a national protocol which would provide guidance to the health service for future severe weather warning events.

The following points were agreed following an extensive engagement between unions and HSE human resources management:

  • Regional HR and local managers will be instructed not to implement any local arrangements, concerning the effects of the storm on work attendance, until agreement is reached nationally on all of the varied issues that have arisen. This means that the previous circular (covering storm ‘Ophelia’) and future arrangements is in abeyance while discussions continue
  • Having regard to the specific circumstances around Storm ‘Emma’, management will respond to the union staff panel proposal that the period under discussion needs to be agreed, and requires resolution on the issues identified
  • The union staff panel will submit documentation to management covering the issues that emerged across all health services during the extreme weather event. Management will formulate draft positions on each to be discussed at the next meeting, which is scheduled to take place next Wednesday (14th March).

The parties agreed to jointly concentrate efforts on agreeing fair and practicable protocols for future weather alerts once these items have been addressed.

The staff panel of unions said management gave high praise to the efforts of members across all disciplines in maintaining services to patients and clients throughout last week.