The Forsa and SIPTU trade unions are continuing to protest and organise industrial action in long-running disputes involving their members in health, social and community services. Many workers in so-called Section 39 publicly-funded organisations provide health and social services but have been denied the kind of pay restoration provided to directly-employed public sector workers in these services. Meanwhile, community employment advisors took strike action on 14 February in the latest step in their campaign for the implementation of a 2008 Labour Court recommendation on their rights to occupational pensions. Selected strike action in Section 39 organisations was due to take place on 21 February.
Long-running disputes in community services continue
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The GMB energy and general union declared an end to the long and bitter dispute with British Gas over its aggressive policy of firing and rehiring workers. GMB members voted three to one to accept a new deal. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers staged 44 days of strike action after the company threatened to sack them if they didn’t sign up to detrimental changes to their terms and conditions. The new deal offers improvements to overtime rates and unsocial hours payments, places limits on the amount of unsocial working undertaken, reverses the decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme
As reported in epsucob@NEWS 05 in March, community employment advisors are campaigning to secure pension rights that should have been provided for them 11 years ago following a decision by the Labour Court. With no action from the government the workers are now planning five days of strike action to increase the pressure on the government to resolve the dispute.