Belfast Telegraph

Electricians stage hospital strike

Electricians at a Dublin hospital are staging a one-day stoppage as a dispute over outsourcing work escalates.

Members of the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) have walked off the job at St James's Hospital Dublin after no agreement was reached at the Labour Relations Commission.

Union leaders confirmed emergency life and limb cover will be provided during the industrial action, but warned the technical services department will be affected.

This is the third stoppage by members at the hospital since the beginning of the month over claims management is reducing the role of electricians on site. It maintains outside contractors were brought in without prior agreement.

"The union is concerned about health and safety, as well as job security issues resulting from the contracting out of services," said a spokesman.

The first step was the handing over of fire alarms to outside contractors.

Management at St James's said they wanted to reassure patients and families that they do not expect hospital services to be disrupted. They also said the union had agreed to provide emergency cover to ensure patients will not be adversely affected.

Talks over the issue of fire alarms have been ongoing since November last year, a hospital spokesman said.

"The health and safety of patients, staff and visitors is a fundamental responsibility for the hospital. The change to work practice does not in any way compromise this responsibility," the spokesman said.

"Security personnel have traditionally been part of the hospital fire response team and are now engaged in the re-setting of fire alarms for which they have been appropriately trained to the satisfaction of experts on fire services management."

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