31/07/2020 Comments are off Patrick Cole
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SIPTU members express anger and hurt at “lazy” comments by Marc MacSharry TD

SIPTU members have reacted with anger, disappointment and hurt at the comments made by Fianna Fáil TD, Marc MacSharry who has accused public servants of laziness during the Covid-19 crisis.

SIPTU Deputy General Secretary for the Public Service, John King, said: “Earlier this week, SIPTU representatives took the view that Deputy MacSharry’s theatrical attempt to grab cheap media headlines was not worthy of a response. However, given the volume of emails, phone calls and messages from members over the last 24 hours since the deputy repeated his outrageous comments we believe we must give public expression to the level of anger, disappointment and hurt felt by public service workers working across the country.

“Deputy MacSharry’s comments clearly demonstrate a fundamental lack of appreciation and understanding of the efforts made by hundreds of thousands of public servants who have worked around the clock to stop the spread of the coronavirus from day one of the outbreak. SIPTU members in the public service are not only on the frontline of our hospitals and emergency services but have kept essential community services going throughout the crisis, are playing a pivotal role in contact tracing and testing, are volunteering to deliver essential goods to our most vulnerable and are processing record numbers of social protection payments.

“The reality is that these essential public services are provided by hard working and diligent workers including SIPTU members in the deputy’s own constituency in the Institute of Technology Sligo, in Sligo and Leitrim county councils, in Sligo University Hospital and the HSE National Recruitment Service in Leitrim and other employments.”

He added: “Our members are demanding Deputy MacSharry listens to the advice of his parliamentary colleagues in Fianna Fáil and other parties, withdraws his comments, apologises and puts an end to this kind of misleading rhetoric that only serves to divide public and private sector workers at a time when the economic recovery of the country requires unity and solidarity.”

26/07/2020 Comments are off Patrick Cole
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Sunday Read: We need a Progressive Fiscal Strategy

Over time the questions will get louder: ‘How do we reduce the deficit? How will we repay all these bills?’ Some will claim there is no alternative to spending cuts and tax increases; that is, austerity.

There is, however, a better response summed up in one word:  growth. It is economic growth that will reduce the deficit and ‘repay the bills’. The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council shows as much – that most of the deficit will be wiped out by 2025 without any policy change.

We can’t, however, rely on growth alone. We need extra resources for investment (housing, climate justice, public transport), public services such as health and education; and enhanced in-work benefits such as illness benefit and family supports. Where will we get these resources from?

Let’s not think that deficits and debt are something only Finance Ministers can fix. Restructuring the workplace can also play a role. Among other high-income EU countries, Ireland has low wages, the smallest proportion of national income.

Driving up wages, especially for low and average income earners, obviously benefits workers. It benefits the economy through more spending. It benefits the public finances because it drives up tax revenue and reduces subsidies to low-wage employers. And the best way to drive up wages is by expanding collective bargaining rights. Give workers the tools to achieve wage justice in the workplace and watch the economy grow and public finances stabilise.

Investment is another way to reduce the deficit and debt. Investment is not a cost. It is a down-payment today to achieve higher revenue growth in the future.  Investments in affordable housing and childcare, public transport and retrofitting, education and Just Transition – these will put people to work today and grow the economy in the long term.

We will also need to look at our tax system. We are a low-taxed economy. But not in workers’ personal taxation and spending taxes (VAT, excise). We lag behind other European countries in employers’ PRSI and capital taxes.

We will need to increase these over time to ensure we have the resources to invest in social prosperity.

SIPTU will be addressing economic and social issues in the weeks and months ahead. We intend to set the agenda, not follow it; and give leadership on the innovative and democratic policies that are necessary to vindicate our members and all workers.

24/07/2020 Comments are off Patrick Cole
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SIPTU seeks urgent talks with management of St Marys nursing home

SIPTU representatives have today (Friday, 24th July) called for an urgent meeting with the management of St Marys, Telford in south Dublin. The call comes following a meeting between management and a liquidator.

SIPTU Health Organiser, Brian Condra said: “The news that management has met with liquidators has shocked and disappointed our members. SIPTU members in St. Mary’s Telford have a longstanding and proud tradition of providing exemplary care for vulnerable residents and patients in the facility.

“Our members had an agreement with management that the closure of this facility would not happen until at least December 2020 and that negotiations to minimise actual job losses through possible redeployment measures would take place.

“Despite ongoing negotiations, management met with the liquidators today. We believe this action is premature and it has caused confusion and deep hurt among the staff, residents and their families.”

He added: “SIPTU representatives have written to the management seeking an urgent meeting with them and the liquidator, to find out why these essential negotiations to secure proper protections for members and to preserve this vital service for the community, have been suddenly shelved.”

20/07/2020 Comments are off Patrick Cole
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SIPTU to discuss Covid-19 infection rates among healthcare workers at Oireachtas Committee

SIPTU representatives will attend the Oireachtas Covid-19 Committee tomorrow (Tuesday, 21st July) to discuss coronavirus infection rates among healthcare workers.

It is expected that SIPTU representatives will outline several contributing factors, including a study of the latest data on healthcare worker infection rates and the key findings identified.

The union is also expected to make recommendations to the Committee including maintaining essential testing and contact tracing capacity in preparation for any potential second wave and an extensive review on the experience of workers seeking access to essential PPE and training during the early days of the crisis.

Download copy of the Union’s submission here

19/07/2020 Comments are off Patrick Cole
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Sunday Video: SIPTU members on the #Covid19 frontline

Essential workers stood by us during our time of crisis. Now it’s time that we stand up for them.

01/07/2020 Comments are off Patrick Cole
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Have your say. Take our PPE Survey.

Health workers are all essential frontline workers.

We want to hear about your experience during the Covid-19 crisis, any concerns you may have in the workplace and what we can do together to shape a fairer future for all health workers and communities in Ireland.

Take our survey here!