Support Staff in six of Dublin’s major teaching Hospitals have voted by a substantial majority in favour of protective strike action in a dispute over rosters and pay. “Following the unilateral decision by the hospital managements to change working patterns for porters, catering operatives, laboratory assistants and CSSD Technicians our members in these support grades have voted  in favour of protective strike action. Over 1,500 members have voted to resist any further attempt by management to cut our member’s pay by removing them from rosters during unsocial hours and weekends and replacing them with interns.” said SIPTU Health Division organiser, Paul Bell. The hospitals involved are St Vincent’s University Hospital, Beaumont, the Mater, Tallaght and St Luke’s hospitals and the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street. Paul Bell has informed the HSE and the management of the balloted hospitals that the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements contain provisions which protect the earnings of low paid workers in the health service who have already suffered reductions in pay through roster changes and in cuts to overtime rates and payments for unsocial hours. “It is remarkable that at a time when senior managers in some voluntary hospitals have had “top up” payments to their salaries ring-fenced and also when the HSE and the Government have seen fit to award pay increases to the highest paid medical workers in the State’s health service that it is the lowest paid who are expected to take further hits to their take home pay. That it is simply unacceptable,” he said. Paul Bell said that a strike in the hospitals where members have balloted will only occur should any attempt be made to unilaterally remove SIPTU members from rosters or in any way reduce their pay.