The Labour Relations Commission proposals for a new public service agreement provide enhanced job security and significant protection from outsourcing for workers in Irish hospitals, according to SIPTU’s National Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell. He said that the proposals, on which SIPTU members in the health and public administration divisions are currently balloting, also contain an important job creation initiative. “During the negotiations with management, SIPTU representatives concentrated a huge effort in preventing the wholesale out-sourcing of support staff jobs throughout the public health service. We have strengthened the existing agreement in relation to  the prevention of outsourcing based on a value for money and efficiency basis,” Paul Bell said. “We have also agreed a job creation initiative involving the direct employment of support staff members through an accredited trainee programme involving Solas and the Educational Training Boards. This initiative will dampen the enthusiasm which some health managers have for the privatisation of jobs and services. “The proposals on which our members are voting at present mean that that lower paid members of the health service will not suffer disproportionately through job losses, pay cuts and compulsory redundancies as well as a wholesale and unilateral outsourcing of work in support staff areas.  The alternative could give rise to an open season on the wages and conditions of lower paid grades.”