29/10/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Workers around the world demand a new deal for the care sector

Today (Friday, 29th October) workers, unions and civil society allies around the globe will take action to demand investments and decent work in care.

The annual Global Action Day to #InvestInCare is a joint initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), UNI Global Union, Education International (EI), International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) Public Services International (PSI), and Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser Kevin Figgis, said: “The pandemic has exposed how decades of underinvestment in our health and care systems have severely degraded quality, accessibility, and safety in the sector. Earlier this year, SIPTU members participated in UNI Global Union´s comprehensive survey of care workers and the results were stark. It showed unacceptable levels of staffing shortages, poverty pay, and dangerous conditions in the global care system. In Ireland, the pandemic has shone a light on the value of all our health workers and the challenges we face securing proper funding, safe staffing levels, and the ever-creeping threat of outsourcing.

He added: “Today, we stand with you to say enough is enough. We want accessible and quality care for all with good wages underpinned by the highest safety standards for all our frontline heroes. Nothing less will do.”

“Care workers cannot wait for the next pandemic to hit. They need safe jobs, acceptable staffing ratios, secure hours and family-sustaining pay now,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “We say that COVID-19 has changed everything, but many of the problems in care have stayed the same—or gotten worse. It’s time to rebuild the care sector to benefit patients, residents and workers alike,” she continued.

Head of UNI Global Union´s Care sector, Adrian Durtschi, said: “Care workers around the world need urgent action from governments and employers to put life at the centre of care. That means safe jobs and jobs that can sustain a family. On October 29 and beyond we are seeing a broad coalition—workers, investors, patient advocates—come together for change.”

This global day of action will draw attention to the urgent need for a re-investment in universal, equitable, quality, public and gender transformative health and care systems for:

  • the creation of decent jobs for women and men in the care sector, including access to vocational and lifelong learning;
  • improving pay and working conditions for workers in health, care and education;
  • ensuring availability and accessibility by all to quality public health, care and education services;
  • stimulating sustainable economic and jobs growth; and
  • realising gender equality policies and programmes.

24/10/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Government must extend vaccine booster to all health care workers

The HSE Staff Panel of Trade Unions has expressed its deep concern that the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has not made a decision to give healthcare workers booster vaccines at this time.

The health sector unions have written to Health Service Executive (HSE) management to request that healthcare workers are offered the opportunity to avail of a booster vaccine.

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “Union representatives have been advised by the HSE that there is no issue with regards to the supply of vaccines to provide a booster dose, that they would be available to roll out a booster program from early November and that it would take three weeks to complete. However, it is awaiting NIAC approval.

“Therefore, we find it inexplicable that health care workers who are working on the frontline against Covid-19 and, within the context of growing community and hospital transmission, are not being offered the option of a booster vaccine.”

He added: “Frontline healthcare workers were one of the first cohort to receive the vaccine in early 2021 and after 6 months they can receive a booster. They are now well beyond that timeline. Current reports clearly indicate that a growing number of healthcare workers are being infected with Covid-19. The health sector unions are adamant that healthcare workers should have the option of a third booster vaccination as quickly as possible.

“In addition, the HSE will also be aware of the severe pressure on the health system, with severe overcrowding in many acute hospitals. The current risk to health care workers is simply too high. The HSE must take steps to address this situation and to ensure that healthcare workers are protected.”

01/10/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Building Momentum pay boost for members

SIPTU Health members covered by the public service agreement will receive a 1% pay increase, or €500 a year increase in wages, whichever is the greater, from today (Friday, 1st October). The deal was negotiated under Building Momentum, a deal negotiated by SIPTU and other public service unions.

This means that all health workers on lower incomes will receive a significantly larger percentage increase than higher paid staff.

Substantial protective provisions were also copper fastened by Building Momentum and with the uncertainty arising from the pandemic, these measures are needed now more than ever. Overtime rates and twilight shift premiums were also restored while a mechanism has been secured to deal with the additional unpaid hours worked by our members.

A sectoral bargaining fund, initially worth 1% of basic pensionable pay during the lifetime of the agreement, to deal with outstanding adjudications, recommendations, awards and claims has also been established. This part of the agreement is being negotiated by Sectoral Bargaining Units.

We expect this process to begin shortly and any payments arising are due from 1st February 2022. Negotiations for a new public service agreement are set to start around summer 2022.

The next full instalment of this deal, which was overwhelmingly backed by SIPTU members, will see a further 1% adjustment in October 2022.