Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (69, 88, 104, 387, 402)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

69. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health if he has had discussions with HSE officials or management on a decision not to recognise a trade union that represents ambulance and paramedic workers; the meetings or discussion with a group of unions (details supplied) in relation to the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5367/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

88. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health if he will direct the HSE to recognise a body (details supplied) as a representative body for ambulance staff. [5130/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

104. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health his views on recent announcements of strikes by ambulance staff members of unions (details supplied) over the refusal by the HSE to recognise the right of the branch of the unions to represent members and the deduction of union subscriptions at source from their pay; his plans to engage with members of the union in an effort to resolve the impasse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5275/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

387. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health his views on whether he can have a positive role with the HSE in engaging with a union (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5303/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Collins

Ceist:

402. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health the reason why the HSE is not recognising a union (details supplied). [5441/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69, 88, 104, 387 and 402 together.

SIPTU is the main union recognised by the HSE and has negotiating rights for front-line ambulance grades employed by the Executive. Unite and FORSA also represent some ambulance grades. As a result, the HSE deducts subscriptions at source for those ambulance staff that are members of those unions. However, the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) is not recognised by the HSE and, therefore, does not have negotiating rights.

Whilst individuals have a right to membership of any trade union, if they choose to join an association which is not recognised by their employer, such membership is not facilitated by their employer. This means that the HSE does not facilitate the deduction of union subscriptions for this particular Association.

While it is regrettable that the PNA has taken industrial action, it is not possible to negotiate with a union which is not recognised as having negotiating rights for ambulance grades. In terms of the Deputy's query in relation to discussions, I can advise that Department officials have been in regular contact with their HSE counterparts. My Department is aware of the situation and supports the HSE's position. My Department has not been involved in meetings with ICTU in relation to this matter.