Trade unions representing firefighters and health and social care workers mobilised across the country on 15 October as part of their continuing campaigns to defend jobs and services. The joint protests called for an end to privatisation, more funding for services and increased pay as proper recognition of the hardship and risks involved in these vital areas of public service. Further action is planned for 14 November.
Social Services, Youth, Firefighters
The FOA public services union has very much welcomed the significant increases to pay for health and social care assistants and trainees as a result of the recently negotiated public sector collective agreements. While all workers will benefit from the the overall 8.1% increase over three years, specific increases set out in the agreements will mean that health and social service assistants will see increases of 13% over the period and trainees will get pay rises of between 14% and 19%. The union believes these are important steps in revaluing low paid jobs in the sector and also making the
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