Siptu plans to ballot health staff for strike over pay restoration

Union accuses Government of turning its back on deal agreed earlier this year

 Siptu said it was preparing to ballot members inSection 39 orgnaisations following the refusal of DPER to fully honour a recent pay restoration agreement. Photograph: iStock

Siptu said it was preparing to ballot members inSection 39 orgnaisations following the refusal of DPER to fully honour a recent pay restoration agreement. Photograph: iStock

 

Industry Correspondent

Staff in a number of State-funded voluntary organisations providing health and social care services are to ballot for strike action after the apparent breakdown of a proposed agreement on the restoration of pay which was cut following the economic crash.

The trade union Siptu said on Wednesday it was preparing to ballot members in what are known technically as Section 39 orgnaisations following the refusal of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) to fully honour a recent pay restoration agreement.

The union maintained that about 6,000 staff in Section 39 bodies were affected. It said pay restoration for the workers concerned would cost about €7million.

Siptu said the department had turned its back on a deal on pay restoration for these staff which was brokered earlier this year. The union said such a move would not be tolerated by its members.

“We now intend to immediately identify all the organisations where workers have not yet benefited from the pay restoration agreement and prepare to ballot them for strike action. “

“We also intend to meet next week with our colleagues from other unions to chart a way forward that will resolve this dispute in a manner which is fair for workers while minimising the potential impact of a strike on service users. “

Siptu has maintained previously that staff in many Section 39 organisations experienced pay cuts similar to those imposed on public service personnel working in State agencies offering similar services after the economic crash but that unlike public service personnel many in Section 39 organisations had not been offered pay restoration proposals.

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “The decision to prepare a ballot our members followed a scheduled meeting between Siptu representatives with officials from the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive at the Workplace Relation Commission on Wednesday. At this meeting it was announced that the Department has refused to apply pay restoration to thousands of health workers employed in a variety of Section 39 organisations.”

“The continued refusal to fairly treat these vital community health workers, who work in areas such as home care, dementia and alzheimer services, is unacceptable.”