SIPTU members meet Minister of Health to demand Covid-19 payment from contract workers – Connacht Tribune – Galway City Tribune:

SIPTU worker representatives met with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly on Friday morning to demand that the Covid-19 Recognition Payment be made to frontline healthcare workers employed by contracted companies.

The minister met two SIPTU shop stewards employed as contract health workers, Michelle Greer and Ewelina Dziadyk, during a visit to University Hospital Galway to open a new unit.

Michelle, who is a catering contractor at University Hospital Galway, said: ‘I have asked the minister why my colleagues and I have not yet received the Covid-19 recognition payment. I explained to him that the only difference between me and the other workers who received the payment is that I am a contract service worker, that is, someone who works entirely within the hospital but who is employed by a contracted company to carry out work by the HSE.”

She added: ‘It was my understanding after the meeting that the Minister thought we should be eligible for the payment and he asked us to contact the HSE to receive it.’

SIPTU Contract Services Sector Organizer Ed Kenny said: “Contract cleaning, catering and security workers worked in clinical settings and had exposure to patients with Covid-19. At first, they had little or no PPE, at a time when there were no vaccines. They later wore masks and gowns as they continued to be exposed to Covid-19 patients on every shift.

SIPTU organizer Mary Mullin said: “At the height of the pandemic, there was no doubt that these contract health care workers were on the front line to keep our health system running during the most urgent emergencies. trying. However, when it comes now to acknowledging their bravery and commitment to duty, it would seem that these front line heroes have become forgotten heroes of the Government and the HSE.

She added: ‘We are calling on the government to meet with union representatives for these workers to discuss the payment of this recognition award before Christmas and what is expected to be another extremely difficult time for our healthcare system.

6e In October, at a meeting of health union representatives and Ministry of Health officials, SIPTU health division organizer Kevin Figgis asked if officials could confirm that contract workers in front line of the health service would be included in the pandemic recognition payment system for workers outside HSE and Section 38 sites. He gave examples of contract, catering and security cleaners and added that these grades directly employed by the HSE had already been paid.

Ministry officials declined to confirm that these workers would be included in the program they are developing through a third party. Figgis reminded officials that this contradicts the minister’s public comments earlier this year, which confirmed that those workers would receive the payment.

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Elaine R. Knight