Pay talks for staff in State-funded voluntary bodies to resume on Monday

Siptu insisting on pay restoration for its members in Section 39 organisations

There are thousands of people working in State-funded voluntary organisations providing health and social care services. Photograph: Reuters/Regis Duvignau

There are thousands of people working in State-funded voluntary organisations providing health and social care services. Photograph: Reuters/Regis Duvignau

 

Talks on pay restoration for thousands of people working in State-funded voluntary organisations providing health and social care services will resume on Monday.

The trade union Siptu said it was insisting that pay restoration for its members working in what are known as Section 39 organisations should commence this year and that a timetable for the completion of this process should also be agreed.

A strike in a number of Section 39 bodies over pay restoration was deferred in February to allow the HSE to carry out an audit regarding remuneration in the various organisations.

Staff in many Section 39 organisations experienced pay cuts similar to those imposed on public service personnel working in State agencies offering similar-type services after the economic crash, the union said. However, Siptu maintained that unlike public servants working in the health and social care sectors, those in Section 39 organisations had not been offered pay restoration proposals.

The Department of Health and the HSE have argued that staff working in Section 39 organisations are not public servants and are not covered by public service pay deals.

Critical phase

The HSE audit of cumulative pay for staff in a group of Section 39 bodies found that pay cuts averaging 4.66 per cent were put in place for employees in 2010.

The HSE audit also says that it would appear that some of the Section 39 organisations had begun a process of pay restoration . The analysis of cumulative pay for staff in the group of Section 39 organisations examined indicated that there had been an average increase in basic pay of 3.64 per cent last year.

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said on Sunday that the new talks to commence this week under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission would initially consider the HSE audit of Section 39 organisations. He said there would then be discussions on how to achieve a sustainable solution concerning how its findings could be addressed, funded and implemented.

“We are now at a critical phase in our campaign. Monday marks the beginning of the end game in a struggle for the thousands of Section 39 workers prepared to commit to strike action to achieve the respect and recognition they deserve.

“The findings of the HSE audit of Section 39 organisations are clear for all to see. There is an established pay link between Section 39 workers and their counterparts in the HSE. The content of the extensive audit document confirms the process for employers to secure funding from the state to restore our members pay.”