Health and social services staff to start rolling series of strikes

Dispute centres over pay restoration for staff at Section 39 organisation

Unions have pointed out that   Section 39 personnel have not seen pay restoration, unlike direct State employees.

Unions have pointed out that Section 39 personnel have not seen pay restoration, unlike direct State employees.

 

A rolling series of strikes over pay restoration in State-funded voluntary organisations that provide health and social services will commence in mid-December, the trade union Siptu has said.

Siptu said the industrial action would begin in Cork on Tuesday December 15th with a one-day stoppage by its members working at CoAction, an organisation supporting people with disabilities.

Siptu public administration and community division organiser Adrian Kane said this would be followed by a 24-hour strike at South Doc in counties Cork and Kerry.

The trade union Fórsa said that its members would also be taking part in the one-day stoppage at CoAction in Cork on December 15th.

The union said on Thursday that the dispute centred on the failure of the HSE to honour an agreement to restore the pay of workers in organisations, known technically as Section 39 bodies, which was reduced following the economic crash a decade ago.

Unions argue that while Section 39 organisations were urged to cut staff pay in line with reductions in remuneration to public servants during the austerity years, Section 39 personnel had not seen pay restoration, unlike direct State employees.

More than 1,000 staff in a number of Section 39 organisations staged a 24-hour stoppage last February over pay restoration. However, the campaign was effectively suspended for a period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are about 300 Section 39 organisations across the country which provide services on foot of grants paid by the HSE. A deal was reached two years ago for the restoration of pay in an initial 50 of these bodies.

However trade unions said in October that there were now concerns about the process of pay restoration in some of the initial 50 Section 39 organisations.