Talks on pay restoration for Section 39 staff to take place in July
Workers in State-funded voluntary agencies had planned strike earlier this year
The Department of Health and the HSE argued that staff working in Section 39 organisations were not public servants and are not covered by public service pay deals. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Talks on pay restoration for thousands of staff working in State-funded voluntary bodies and agencies providing health and social care are to reconvene in two weeks.
A row over the reversal of pay cuts experienced by employees in what are known as Section 39 organisations almost led to a strike in many areas of the sector earlier this year.
Siptu, which represents many of the staff, said those working in many Section 39 organisations experienced pay cuts similar to those imposed after the economic crash on public service personnel working in areas offering similar services.
However, it 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 argued that staff working in Section 39 organisations were not public servants and are not covered by public service pay deals. The planned strike in February was averted after the HSE agreed to carry out the audit of a group of Section 39 organisations .
This pilot study found a majority of State-funded voluntary bodies and agencies providing health and social care had reduced staff pay during the austerity years.
An analysis of cumulative pay for staff in each of a group of Section 39 bodies examined 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 pay restoration talks between the unon, the HSE, the Department of Health and Section 39 health service providers would reconvene, under the auspices of an agreed Workplace Relations Commission process on Monday, July 9th.
“Our members are understandably very frustrated at the pace that this process is developing. They emphatically voted yes for strike action in February in their quest to win pay justice. While that strike action was deferred on foot of an agreement that pay restoration would begin this year we are mindful that we are entering the second half of 2018 with no clear timetable for monies to be paid. This inaction will not work for our members.”
He said that members across the Section 39 organisations had taken great heart from the victory of the workers in the Irish Society for Autism who “secured a win worth thousands of euro in early June”.
He said: “Their victory serves as a timely reminder to workers that taking action gets results.”