Protesters gathered outside a nursing home in renewed calls for a fair redundancy package following a decision to close three Dublin care facilities.
Staff from St Monica’s Nursing Home on Belvedere Place say the closures will put 200 staff out of work and lead to the loss of 160 beds from the healthcare system.
Members of the Forsa, INMO, and SIPTU unions have been campaigning for fair treatment since the closure of the three Sisters of Charity sites was announced.
Staff at Caritas Convalescent Centre, St Mary’s and St Monica’s nursing homes say they have lost their livelihoods.
More than 20 workers gathered for a socially distanced protest, calling for the Sisters of Charity and the HSE to fund their redundancy payments properly.
Despite working in the public sector, the liquidators of each facility claimed the workers do not qualify for public sector redundancy payments.
This was challenged in the Labour Court by the unions, with the court recommending the HSE and the Sisters of Charity engage with representatives to ensure that workers received public sector redundancy terms.
However, the recommendation has not yet been completed.
Sean McElhinney, Forsa assistant general secretary, said: “Our members welcome the indication that the Sisters of Charity is scoping out the feasibility of releasing funds to compensate for job loss.
“Nevertheless, some of the Sisters’ comments seem ambiguous.
“In that context, we will welcome the protest as an opportunity to share our explicit expectation: that the recommendation of the Labour Court will be satisfied in its completeness and applied to all three facilities.
“The HSE has also been named in the Labour Court recommendation. They too should be paying attention to our protest.
“Our members are calling time on the apparent HSE avoidance strategy.
“We are committed to bringing the HSE to the table. They must play their part in implementing the recommendation of the court.”
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald, who attended the protest, told the PA news agency: “There needs to be urgent engagement with the HSE, workers’ representatives and the Sisters of Charity.
“We are about to lose around 200-bed capacity. This is unthinkable when capacity is already overstretched and as we continue to endure a pandemic.
“Those availing of services have been robbed of much-needed care and services. I am also conscious that for many long-term residents, this is about much more than just services – it has also been their home.
“The staff are hero frontline workers who have been treated disgracefully. Politicians were quick to praise workers and applaud them during the pandemic.
“But workers need more than empty gestures and need to see action taken to protect their rights.
“I am in touch with the HSE, Taoiseach and Tanaiste on this issue and will be pushing for urgent action to resolve it.”
Picture: Staff from St Monica’s Nursing Home outside the building in Dublin, as they protest the closure of three former Sisters of Charity facilities, which will result in over 200 staff redundancies and the loss of 160 beds from the healthcare system. (Niall Carson/PA).