Health services to face disruption as section 39 workers vote to strike

Staff at health and care service organisations across the country have voted to strike in a row over pay restoration.

The stoppage will involve Siptu workers at Section 39 organisations.

The action will begin with a one day strike on February 14th, with more stoppages to follow.

SIPTU members in the following organisations have voted for strike action; Rehab Ireland, the Cheshire Foundation, Western Care in County Mayo, St Joseph’s Foundation in County Cork, SOS Kilkenny, Ability West, Wicklow Community and Family Services, and SOS Workshops.

Staff at Marymount University Hospital and Hospice, Curraheen, County Cork, will be balloted tomorrow on the issue.

Section 39 employees are not public servants, but their employers are grant-aided by the HSE to provide services mainly in the health and social services sectors.

Traditionally their pay has been linked to rates within the public service. However, while they experienced the cuts implemented in the recession years, there has, so far, been no sign of them securing the newly-agreed increases.

Siptu says the HSE, the Department of Health, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform have repeatedly insisted they have no role or input into pay for workers in Section 39 organisations.

In a statement this afternoon SIPTU announced that its members in Section 39 organisations had voted overwhelmingly for strike action

The union revealed that members employed by Section 39 organisations providing health and care services across the country have voted by 97% in favour of commencing strike action, beginning with a one-day stoppage on Wednesday, 14th February, in their campaign for pay justice.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, thanked SIPTU members working in Section 39 organisations for a clear demonstration of their unity of purpose.

Siptu's Paul Bell

"The vote provides a clear mandate to strike in the workplaces selected to take part in the initial round of industrial action. The strike action will begin with a one-day stoppage on 14th February. More stoppages will be announced following this initial action.

“The ballot result is an expression of the unprecedented level of both disappointment and anger of our members at the failure of their employers and Government to respect their legitimate entitlement to pay restoration.

"Our members are also incensed with the lack of a response by their employers and Government to the unanimous vote earlier this month in Dáil Éireann in support of a Fianna Fáil Private Members’ Bill which called for pay restoration for workers in Section 39 organisations.

“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has previously confirmed that there is a long established pay link between Section 39 organisations and public sector employers.

"He must now intervene in this dispute and ensure that Section 39 organisations are adequately resourced in order to facilitate the implementation of the outstanding Labour Court recommendations concerning this issue and allow for local negotiation to commence on pay restoration.”

Bell went on to suggest that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has accepted an invitation to attend a hearing of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health scheduled on Wednesday to discuss members’ campaign for pay justice.

"UNITE trade union members in Section 39 organisations in the South East have also voted in favour of strike action. FORSA and INMO trade unions are preparing similar ballots.”

More reaction as we get it ... 

- Digital Desk 



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