May. 29, 2020 The SIPTU health union has reiterated its demand that the government publishes full details of where over 7,600 workers have tested positive for Covid-19. The union says that the data is needed to identify any Covid-19 hotspots and to understand if health workers were exposed due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) or poor enforcement of protocols. It will also allow the union to find out how these workers were treated by their employer. SIPTU is also concerned about health workers taken on by employment agencies who are not covered by Covid-19 paid leave or ‘death in service’ policies. The union wants health workers exposed to the disease to receive compensation for loss of salary and state support for medical costs including counselling.
Apr. 24, 2020 Trade unions representing health workers - INMO, SIPTU and Forsa - have been highly critical of the government's failure to come up with an effective plan to provide childcare for nurses, midwives and other care workers. Unions report that many health workers are staying away from work or using annual leave or sick leave as they have no childcare provision. Those who can find childcare are often paying high costs and proposals and unions are saying that proposals that offer leave for partners of health workers fail to recognise the limitation of the measure. Unions are particularly disappointed that so little has been done since the issue was raised weeks ago when the government closed schools and childcare facilities.
Mar. 05, 2020 The SIPTU and Forsa trade unions organised strike action across publicly-funded (Section 39) health and social services organisations on 21 February as part of a long-running campaign to get workers' pay restored following the cuts that were implemented as part of austerity measures. Many of these workers do the same or similar jobs as directly employed public servants who have seen their pay restored. The threat of strike action lead to a deal for around 500 home care workers who suspended their action, but many other workers are continuing their campaign to try to secure an agreement.
Feb. 20, 2020 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.
Jan. 20, 2020 Following the strike action by school secretaries on 10 January and subsequent industrial action (work-to-rule), Forsa their trade union has agreed to return to talks with the government that are being held by the Workplace Relations Committee conciliation service. The strike action is over the poor pay and conditions suffered by around 2000 school secretaries employed on precarious contracts by local schools (see last issue of EPSU Collective Bargaining News). Forsa is looking for real and significant progress in the talks otherwise the industrial action will re-start.
Jan. 07, 2020 School secretaries organised by the Fórsa trade union planned a one-day strike on 10 January and further industrial action in support of their campaign for pay justice (see EPSU CB News 17 and 18, September 2019). Nine out of 10 school secretaries are employed by their local school, are paid less than EUR 12500 a year and have precarious employment conditions. In contrast, one in 10 are directly employment by the department of education and have the appropriate pay and conditions of public servants. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Oct. 22, 2019 The SIPTU general union is planning to step up its childcare campaign after the government failed to boost funding in its latest budget. The union highlights low pay and high costs in the sector. Average pay for the 25000 mainly women childcare workers is only EUR 11.18 compared to the living wage of EUR 12.30. SIPTU says the government's failure to invest in the sector means that around one in four workers are leaving each year, raising serious issues of sustainability.
Oct. 02, 2019
On 1 October over 60 trade union representatives from 22 countries took part in a lively conference in Brussels on the European Semester - the European Union's annual process of economic and social policy coordination.
Sep. 27, 2019 Unions in the UK and Ireland are both making moves towards a four-day week campaign with the TUC's initiative in the UK gaining momentum with support from the Labour Party. The TUC's conference last year put a four-day week on the agenda and last week's Labour Party conference set out the 10-year objective of a 32-hour week without loss of pay. Meanwhile public services union Forsa was the first Irish union to back a new coalition of businesses, environmental and other campaigning organisations to support a Four Day Week Ireland campaign for working time reduction.
Sep. 27, 2019 Over 250 schools across the country saw action by school secretaries (heads of administration) with widespread support from teaching staff and parents. The action was over the fact that the vast majority of school secretaries are on precarious contracts and paid up to EUR 12500 less than school secretaries directly employed by the ministry of education. The action went ahead on 20 September after negotiations with the ministry failed to deliver a breakthrough.
Sep. 12, 2019 Members of public services union Forsa who work as school secretaries (head of administration in schools) have voted with a nine-to-one majority to take industrial action from 20 September. The secretaries have a long-standing issue over a two-tier system that leaves most of them who are employed by schools on low pay and without other benefits such as sick pay and pensions. In contrast, a minority are directly employed public servants who benefit from much better pay and conditions. The action will mainly consist of a work-to-rule.
Aug. 07, 2019 Health support workers, members of the SIPTU services union, will be balloted over a Labour Court recommendation that could see them getting pay increases of between 6% and 13% as a result of job evaluation. The union organised strike action in June as the government had failed to take action to implement the job evaluation results (epsucob@NEWS no.12). The court has also recommended a timetable to ensure that job evaluations are carried out for staff who have not already gone through the process.
Jul. 25, 2019 The SIPTU services union has called on the government to commit to funding early years education in order to ensure a living wage for all childcare workers. The union says that, on average, early years educators are paid EUR 1.12 less than the living wage of EUR 12.30 an hour. SIPTU wants to see the living wage established as the minimum rate for all childcare workers as an important step in recognising the value of the profession and to begin to address turnover and staff shortages.