Date Released: 20 April 2016
SIPTU members working in National Ambulance Service (NAS) emergency control centre in Tallaght, Dublin 24, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute concerning staffing levels, the filling of vacancies and retention of staff.
SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley, said: “This dispute results from a refusal of the management of the emergency control centre to implement Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) proposals to deal with issues relating to staffing levels, the filling of vacancies and the retention of staff.
“Over the last year, SIPTU members have repeatedly highlighted the crisis regarding the retention of emergency call takers within the service. These highly trained and skilled staff who are responsible for taking emergency calls from the public and classifying their level of urgency have a starting rate of pay of just over €21,500 per year. This level of pay coupled with the stressful nature of the job has led to a high turnover of staff.
“The WRC proposals seek to deal with this issue as well as the filling of vacant permanent dispatcher posts. These members manage the allocation of resources to emergency calls.”
He added: “SIPTU members are calling on management to fulfill its obligations under the WRC proposals. If these staffing issues are not addressed as a matter of urgency there is a serious risk to the effective operation of the emergency control centre.
“The present system of recruiting staff is not fit for purpose. The HSE national recruitment service should hand over responsibility for recruitment for this emergency operations centre to the NAS. The HSE should also review the grading structure of emergency call takers in a bid to retain these essential staff within the control centre.”