SIPTU Public Sector representatives have today (Wednesday, 19th February) confirmed that members in selected Section 39 organisations across the country will take strike action on Friday (21st, February) in an effort to resolve a dispute over pay restoration.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The treatment of these vital community health workers, who work in areas such as home care, dementia and alzheimer services, is totally unacceptable. Strike action is the only option left open to our members to policy makers andthose who fund the services to sit up and take notice. SIPTU representatives have fought long and hard to win a pay restoration formula that could be applied across Section 39 organisations and the continued refusal of these organisations, aided and abetted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to vindicate their rights will not be tolerated by our members.
“Our members in these organisations, all low paid workers, are falling further behind, having endured cuts in pay of approximately 6% and a reduction in their hours which has had a knock on effect on service users and their families. They now have been left with no option other than to take action on Friday.”
He said: “The number of members involved in this dispute nationally is roughly 6,000 and strikes will be rolled out on a phased basis, in every part of the country, over the coming weeks. The amount of money the Department requires to fairly resolve this dispute is no more than €7 million which is small change for the incoming Government but it would give our members a big break.”
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “During this entire dispute our members demonstrated great compassion and responsibility by doing everything in their power to achieve a legitimate objective without affecting services to vulnerable clients and will continue to do so. Unfortunately, within the sector there is often a blatant disregard by employers who take advantage of thegood nature of staff and ignore accepted industrial relations procedures. Many workers in the sector were subject to pay cuts during the austerity years similar tothose imposed on their colleagues in the public sector.”
He added: “The outgoing government failed to recognise that they have a right to pay restoration and pension provision in line with the improvements secured in more recent years by public sector workers.”