SIPTU representatives have today (Wednesday, 14th November) said that talks are underway with management at University Limerick Hospital in an effort to resolve a dispute in the portering department. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Tony Kenny, said: “Following our recent 4 hour strike it is important to clarify a number of points raised by management in the media and deal with them. SIPTU were notified of the threatened closure of the porters rest room which was in place for over 25 years on 13th July, 2018. We wrote to management on six separate occasions prior its closure seeking to meet to find a resolution to the provision of restroom facilities prior to closure of the room. Since then we have had two meetings. One took place prior to the 2 hour work stoppage on 9th October and one prior to the 4 hour work stoppage last week (Thursday 9th November) The purpose of these meetings was to agree contingency cover arrangements for a dispute. SIPTU put forward a fair and reasonable solution in an effort to avoid a dispute. This was rejected by management and is not proper engagement.” He added: “We also reject the allegations that smoking in the restroom was the reasons behind its sudden and unilateral closure. It appears that management is using this portering dispute in an effort to deflect attention from other serious issues of public concern. The fact is SIPTU has always held the view that where there is a breach of policy by any individual that the agreed disciplinary policy should be utilised. It should be noted that following the invoking of disciplinary procedures by management that all porters have been exonerated.” “Since our last stoppage, engagement on the overall state of industrial relations on site and the issues affecting our portering members have commenced with the CEO of the Hospital group. We remain hopeful that a fair, equitable and respectful resolution can be found to this and other matters through this engagement, and in recognition of this we have not notified management of any further industrial action at this juncture. The strike committee will be meeting in the coming days to review the recent industrial action and will be updated on these discussions and decide on a future course of action.”