SIPTU members in Clifden District Hospital and St. Anne’s Community Nursing Unit in Clifden, county Galway, are to ballot on industrial action in a dispute resulting from unilateral changes to their conditions of employment including their sick leave scheme. SIPTU Organiser, Yvonne McGrath, said: “HSE Community Healthcare West manages these facilities and SIPTU representatives have informed it of their intention to ballot members for industrial action up to and including strike action. The ballot is to commence on 14th November.  “Clifden District Hospital provides respite, post-acute step-down beds for patients. St. Anne’s Community Nursing Unit provides residential care for older people in the community.  “The dispute in these facilities centres on sweeping changes to the conditions of employment of our members, including unilaterally withdrawing provisions within their standard sick leave scheme.” She added: “At the end of September, HSE Community Healthcare West withdrew from a process at the Workplace Relations Commission aimed at resolving these issues. Since then, it has ignored calls from SIPTU representatives to re-engage in discussions.”  SIPTU member and Clifden District Hospital worker, Martina McHugh, said: “The changes that management has imposed on us, without agreement, include moving staff from one service to another with little notice, reducing break times, increasing night duty and withdrawing access to flexible working patterns. The changes are having a direct impact on our ability to deliver an important and effective service while also affecting staff work life balance.”  SIPTU member and St. Anne’s Community Nursing Unit worker, Pat Joyce, said “We are concerned that the HSE intends to amalgamate the services provided at Clifden District Hospital and St. Anne’s Community Nursing Unit without fully considering the impact on staff and clients.” SIPTU representatives remain available to engage with the HSE to resolve the outstanding issues in line with the terms of public service agreements.