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Strike action at Coombe Hospital deferred

The Connect trade union has said that its members in Dublin’s Coombe Hospital have deferred strike action which was due to commence on Monday.

The union said the workers involved in the dispute have been reinstated to their jobs ahead of a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) meeting with management on Friday 16 February.

Management at the Coombe and Connect were invited to the WRC in a bid to resolve a dispute over the introduction of handheld technology.

Earlier this week, Connect said it would commence a ballot of craft workers in hospitals across the country after the union accused the Coombe of breaching agreed industrial relations procedures which had resulted in the lockout of six union members.

Connect said that hospital management had tried to unilaterally enforce a change to members’ terms and conditions of employment and that the introduction of new handheld technology is part of national discussions between unions and hospital management.

A spokesperson for the Coombe said the hospital had been endeavouring to implement a move away from a paper-based system to the use of digital handheld devices for the assignment of work to maintenance staff.

Today, Connect General Secretary Paddy Kavanagh said its members have been reinstated and have agreed to attend the upcoming WRC meeting.

“Following their lockout our members balloted for strike action which was scheduled to commence on Monday,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“This has now been deferred in order to allow for an opportunity for all outstanding issues to be addressed through the WRC conciliation process,” he added.

The Coombe has said it welcomed the invitation to talks from the WRC.

“The Coombe has consistently expressed its willingness to engage with staff representatives on this matter which has already been the subject of engagement for over 18 months,” a spokesperson said.

“It is the Coombe’s position that the implementation of a digital maintenance system was fully in line with normal IR practices and the Building Momentum pay agreement and the hospital welcomes the opportunity to engage on this through the mechanisms of the WRC,” it said.

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