SIPTU members working as support staff in Dublin’s main training hospitals are balloting for strike action in response to an attempt by the management of the HSE to unilaterally change existing rosters and shift pattern arrangements which are protected under the Haddington Road Agreement. The workers affected include hospital porters, catering staff, household workers, central sterile services department staff and laboratory technicians working in all the Dublin Training Hospitals. The facilities affected are Beaumont Hospital, Tallaght Hospital, St. Vincent’s University Hospital, the Mater Public Hospital, National Maternity Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital.SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said:  “Management at St. Vincent’s University Hospital has already attempted to remove our members from working weekend and unsocial hours with only three days notice. The plan was to have these duties carried out by Support Staff Interns rather than full time hospital staff. When it was made clear to management that SIPTU members were resolutely opposed to this move it was suspended.“However, following engagement with the management of the HSE and St Vincent’s University Hospital it is clear that they still intend to misuse the Support Staff Intern programme in order to unilaterally change our members established shift patterns and pay”.Paul Bell added: “This dispute is also focused on the consistent refusal by the management of the HSE to agree a protocol for the recruitment, deployment and training of Support Staff Interns. It is now obvious that the HSE intends to use this element of the Haddington Road Agreement to undermine the pay and conditions of our members.“SIPTU is committed to the recruitment and deployment of 1,000 Support Staff Interns for the purpose of reducing agency staff costs and reducing overtime costs that have arisen as a result of a failure to fill vacancies due to the HSE’s staff recruitment embargo. It is also the union’s intention to ensure that Support Staff Interns are made permanent once they have completed their two year training programme”. The ballot is scheduled for completion on 9th October.