Planned strike by 5,000 health and social care staff deferred

Siptu decided to call off planned stoppage after intervention of Simon Harris

Thousands of Siptu members in State-funded organisations providing health and social care have deferred a one-day strike in a dispute over pay restoration.

A planned strike by more than 5,000 staff working in State-funding voluntary bodies providing health and social services, which was scheduled to go ahead next Tuesday, has been deferred.

The trade union Siptu said it decided to call off the stoppage following the intervention of Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The planned strike formed part of a long-running campaign by workers in so-called Section 39 bodies for the restoration of pay cuts applied after the economic crash.

Siptu said on Friday there was now an understanding "that the Department of Health and Health Service Executive have a position to communicate which may resolve the pay justice claim of Section 39 workers".


Talks are expected to take place at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Tuesday.

The union said the strike had been deferred and not cancelled. It said the stoppage would be re-scheduled if the forthcoming talks were not successful.

Unions have argued that while staff in public service bodies, who do similar jobs, have seen the restoration of pay cuts applied during the austerity years, those working in Section 39 organisations have not.

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: "In response to the intervention from the Minister for Health today and at the request of the WRC, Siptu representatives have agreed to defer strike action scheduled for Tuesday 18th September. It is through the commitment and collective efforts of our shop stewards and members that this crucial position has been reached."

The trade union Fórsa, which also represents staff in Section 39 organisations, said it would attend the talks on Tuesday, but would also continue to ballot members in a number of employments in the sector for industrial action.

Siptu had planned to stage strike action in a number of Section 39 organisations including Rehab Ireland and the Cheshire Foundation - which are national operations - as well as Western Care in Mayo, St Joseph's Foundation in Cork, SOS Kilkenny, the Cork Association for Autism, Ability West, St Aidan's Hospital in Wexford and Wicklow Community and Family Services.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent