Members of three trade unions – Fórsa, SIPTU and INMO – are voting on whether to accept a deal that might resolve a long-standing dispute over pay affecting non-profit health providers. The unions have been seeking to restore pay parity between workers in these bodies and directly employed public sector health and social care staff. Strike action was due to begin on 17 October but a revised offer from the employers lead the unions to suspend the action and consult members. Instead of the two-stage 5% increase offered in July, the employers have put forward a 3% increase backdated to 1 April 2023, a 2% increase from 1 November 2023 and a 3% increase from 1 March 2024, so more than 8% within less than 12 months. There is also a commitment to further negotiations starting by 1 December 2023 at the latest that will consider comparability with current and future public sector pay agreements. The government has acknowledged the importance of adequate financing of the non-profit sector in order to fund pay increases and tackle staff shortages.
Union members vote on non-profit sector pay proposal
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Members of the public services unions Fórsa, SIPTU and INMO were involved in industrial action on 21-23 September as part of the ICTU confederation’s “Valuing Care, Valuing Community” campaign. The unions are pushing for better pay and conditions and increased staffing in non-profit providers of health and social care. They argue that workers in the sector have seen their pay fall relatively to directly employed public sector workers who carry out the same or similar jobs. This is having a major impact on the non-profit sector’s ability to recruit and retain staff.
Fórsa and other public service unions have invoked a review clause in the current public service agreement in response to the surge in inflation. However, pay talks convened by the Workplace Relations Commission ended without agreement as the government proposals fell far short of 2021 inflation and projected 2022 cost-of-living increases. There are no immediate plans to reconvene the talks. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform had offered supplementary pay rises of just 2.5% for the period 2021-2022, despite expected annual inflation of at least 9% over the two-year period. Another
Members of the FNV trade union are in the process of voting on whether to support the agreement covering the municipal sector that was negotiated last month. The agreement provides for a 1.5% pay increase from 1 December 2021 and a further increase of 2.4% from 1 April 2022. There will also be a €1200 lump sum paid, €900 of which is pensionable and €300 of which reflects a COVID bonus. Also the agreement commits municipalities to guarantee a €14 an hour minimum wage from 1 January 2022. There are several other elements to the agreement including a working-from-home allowance and measures