Sep. 13, 2018 The SIPTU general workers' union has welcomed new government intiatives on funding and regulation of the childcare sector which it believes will help improve children's safety and the quality of care. However, the union argues that urgent action is needed to tackle low pay and precarious employment in the sector. SIPTU says with average pay at only EUR 10.88 an hour, there are significant recruitment and retention problems as reflected in a staff turnover rate of just over 28%.The union wants to see a major overhaul of funding for the sector to provide the basis of decent pay for such undervalued workers.
Aug. 16, 2018 The SIPTU services union has negotiated an agreement that could provide significant improvements to the pay and conditions of around 8000 home care workers employed in the community sector. The workers will have a guarantee that travel time will be include in the calculation of their pay and working time and the new deal should see them benefit from a proper valuation of their work, with minimum qualifications to be set for new workers and an end to precarious work. This will help bring the sector more line with the pay and conditions enjoyed by workers directly employed by the Health Service Executive. The union is also keen to ensure that there is an overall increase in hours of home care provision to benefit service users.
Aug. 01, 2018 The SIPTU general workers' union has announced strike action on 18 September for its members in the non-profit, social care sector. The union suspended action in February when it received a commitment from the government to negotiate on funding what are called Section 39 organisations that provide a range of social services. The union has been campaigning for pay restoration for its members in these organisations in line with the pay developments in the public sector. With the failure of the government to confirm it would increase funding even to allow a 1% pay increase as a first step in pay restoration, SIPTU decided that it had to revert to strike action. See epsucob@NEWS 10, May 2018 and earlier. Public services union Forsa also has members in Section 39 organisations and will be balloting its members over strike action.
Jul. 19, 2018 Four days of strike action by workers at Roscommon council in the West of Ireland have lead to the restoration of the right to flexi-leave that had been removed by the council's management. The workers, organised by the Fórsa and SIPTU trade unions, had carried out a series of four one-day strikes and further action was planned in order to secure rights which are enjoyed across the rest of the local government sector and which are important in ensuring a good work-life balance, particularly for working parents. EPSU had sent a solidarity message.
Jun. 27, 2018 Workers at Roscommon Council in the west of Ireland, members of the Fórsa trade union, have begun a series of strikes in order to win back their rights to flexileave. The right is seen as important, particularly for working parents and is being denied to Roscommon workers despite it being a right enjoyed across local government, endorsed in the national agreement and supported by a ruling of the Labour Court. The local government workers have taken two days of strike action and organised a protest march. They will continue to strike every Tuesday and Thursday. EPSU and other union organisations have sent messages of support.
May. 17, 2018 An official report supports calls by the SIPTU union for pay restoration for a wide range of social service workers employed by the non-profit sector in "Section 39" organisations. The workers often do jobs equivalent to those directly employed in the public sector. However, while public sector workers are covered by a collective agreement which should ensure that most see their pay restored to pre-austerity levels by 2020, there is no such commitment covering Section 39 workers. SIPTU says that the report also makes clear that the costs of pay restoration for these workers is entirely manageable. The union suspended strike action earlier in the year pending publication of the report and will now be looking for action from the government to deliver pay restoration.
May. 02, 2018 Public service unions, including Fórsa and SIPTU, have met with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for discussions on dealing more rapidly with the problem of pay equity for new entrants to the public service. In the pay changes implemented as part of austerity measures in 2011, two additional points were added to the first two pay grades for new starters. This means that they need two more years to reach the top of their pay grades compared to higher grades. The unions argue that with economic growth and higher tax revenues, it should be possible to tackle this issue in advance of the next formal round of collective bargaining. There are around 60,513 new entrants, making up 19% of public service workers, who are affected.
Apr. 20, 2018 The Fórsa public services union is committed to negotiate a reduction in working time across the public sector to return workers to the hours they worked before austerity measures were implemented. This will be a priority for the negotiations for the next agreement. The current agreement, negotiated last year and running until 2020, does include provisions for workers to opt for shorter hours but only with commensurate cuts in pay. There is also scope to convert leave into flexitime. However, at the time the government refused to budge on restoration of pre-crisis working time.
Apr. 12, 2018
On 6 April 2018 SIPTU organised in Dublin the seminar "Meeting the Challenges – Winning Respect". It brought together about 40 members and workers’ representatives working in the National Ambulance Service.
Mar. 19, 2018 Public service trade unions have secured talks with the government to deal with the issue of low pay for new entrants. In 2011, as part of austerity measures, the government introduced two new lower pay grades for new recruits. This was not agreed by trade unions at the time and they have continued to demand action by the government. It is estimated that 60000 workers have been taken on since 2011 and have started on these lower rates of pay.
Feb. 20, 2018 The threat of strike action by members of the SIPTU trade union employed in the non-profit social services sector has lead to an agreement on negotiations to ensure pay restoration. The union had been campaigning for some time to get the government to commit to funding so-called Section 39 organisations so that they could deliver pay restoration for the sector in line with what has already been agreed in the national public sector negotiations. The strike action planned for 14 February has been delayed by six weeks to allow time for the management of the relevant Section 39 organisations to respond. (See previous issue of epsucob@NEWS 03, 2018)
Feb. 07, 2018 Social services workers employed by non-profit organisations had already voted for a one-day strike on 14 February but there are now plans to extend the action with a two-day strike in the week beginning 19 February. The strike has been called by the SIPTU trade union to put pressure on the government to agree extra funding for so-called Section 39 organisations. These organisations provide many social services on a par with public sector providers but Section 39 employees have so far been denied the pay restoration measures that have been agreed in the public sector. EPSU has sent a solidarity message. See also earlier epsucob@NEWS articles last month and in November and December 2017.