And Transport and General Workers Union convenor Peter Hannaford contends that with many services already ‘cut to the bone’, workers are not prepared to sit back and accept further cuts ‘without fighting our corner’.
Mr Hannaford said: ‘If they press ahead with even some of these cutbacks, we will be prepared to take industrial action.’Staff say that if savings are to be made, they want to see ‘waste eliminated’ from the overall service before drastic steps are taken which could affect patients, staff and their families.
Last week Health and Social Services Committee president Senator Stuart Syvret unveiled a series of potential savings which, if implemented, would see many services abolished.
The list was drawn up to show what could go if Health and Social Services are not granted their budget requests for 2005.The list included the possible scrapping of patient transport services to hospitals and day-care centres.
Staff working in this area have already sent a petition to their union bosses to protest.Angry staff described the Health president’s cutbacks warning as ‘deeply offensive and demoralising’.
The petition says that if patient transport services were to be closed, ‘it would be to the detriment of the elderly, the sick and the disabled at a time when it is recognised that we have an ageing population’.However, Senator Syvret does not want to see any of the proposed cutbacks implemented.
‘Like all departments, we were told by Finance and Economics to draw up proposals to show where savings could be made, and that’s what has been done,’ he said.’I believe in telling the public what government is doing.
I give an undertaking we will fight tooth and nail to prevent these proposals from being implemented.
The workers really should be venting their frustration at the Finance and Economics Committee, not at me.’However, Mr Hannaford said: ‘It’s the States as a whole who would have to implement cuts, so I don’t care which politician is coming forward with the proposals and the reasons they are using for doing so.’