Staff in State-funded bodies ‘on verge of success in pay campaign’ - Siptu
Opposition back calls for pay restoration for workers in Section 39 organisations
Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell. File Photograph: Eric Luke
Staff in State-supported organisations providing health and social care believe they are on the verge of winning their campaign for similar pay restoration as secured by public service employees, Siptu has said.
The trade union said the “campaign for pay justice” for workers in so-called Section 39 organisations - which are not direct State bodies but which receive State funding - had reached a critical moment as it had received cross-party support in the Dáil from Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, the Social Democrats, the Green Party, Solidarity and many Independents.
Staff working in a number of Section 39 organisation are currently balloting for industrial action over pay restoration and the union had previously maintained that a strike seemed inevitable.
Siptu said staff in many Section 39 bodies experienced pay cuts similar to those imposed on public service personnel providing health and social care services after the economic crash.
However, it argued that unlike public servants working in the health and social care sectors, those employed in Section 39 organisations had not been offered pay restoration proposals.
The Government has contended that staff in Section 39 bodies are not public servants and that while the State provides grants, pay is a matter for the employers themselves.
Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “Our members throughout the country see this cross- party, political, support as a vindication of their committed efforts to not only win pay justice but to fight on behalf of their service users who would be exposed to having their services curtailed if the recruitment and retention crisis in Section 39 organisations is not resolved.
“We are hopeful that the Government will now direct the Health Service Executive, Department of Health and Department for Public Expenditure and Reform to agree a focused and transparent process that will secure our members’ jobs, pay restoration and services.
Labour Party health spokesman Alan Kelly said thousands of workers employed in Section 39 bodies provided vital services in communities across the country and deserved “the same respect and pay restoration as other publicly funded bodies have implemented”.
He added: “While they are not technically considered to be public sector workers, Section 39 employees carry out invaluable work in our hospices, disability organisations and many other agencies.”