Around 10000 health workers are on strike today over the government's failure to honour a job and pay regrading exercise. The strike, initially planned for last week, had been been suspended pending emergency talks.
Jun. 26, 2019
May. 28, 2019 The SIPTU general workers' union has confirmed that thousands of health and social care workers employed by non-profit organisations (Section 39) are set to get a EUR 1000 pay increase as part of a process of pay restoration in line with what has been happening in the public sector. Around 50 organisations are covered by the initial negotiations and the situation in a further 250 organisations will be taken up in negotiations beginning in July. The union managed to negotiate a deal last December after an 18-month campaign.
May. 10, 2019 Reducing working time has emerged as a key issue for public services union Forsa. As part of another element of the austerity package agreed in 2013, lower and middle-earning civil servants saw their working time increase by 2.5 hours a week without any increase in pay. At the same time higher earners (those on over EUR 65000 a year) took a pay cut. However, that pay cut was restored by January 2018 and so Forsa is now arguing that it is only fair that lower and middle-earning civil servants, mostly women, should return to their pre-crisis working hours. Taking account of the hours increase, the hourly rate of pay for civil servants is still only 93% of the level of 10 years ago.
Apr. 17, 2019 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.
Mar. 27, 2019 Unions representing nurses and midwives have been in the Labour Court where hearings continue over a new contract. Both the INMO nurses' and midwives' union and the SIPTU general union have strong objections to the government proposals. The unions point out that the working time arrangements would be too rigid for an overwhelmingly female workforce as would reducing shifts to only four hours or requiring nurses and midwives to work up to 45 km away from their normal workplace.
Mar. 15, 2019 The Forsa public services union is arguing that the current public sector agreement needs to address cost-of-living increases and occupation and grade-specific claims. Recent pay rises have brought pay back to 2008 levels but don't take account of the 6% rise in prices while there is a range of demands from different groups of workers that have not been addressed in earlier negotiations. This is reflected in the current dispute involving nurses and midwives which is now being addressed in the Labour Court. The Court had ruled earlier in favour of a pay rise for nurses and midwives and other measures to address issues like safe staffing levels. But the union, INMO, has returned to the court following a government offer that includes what the union sees as wholly unacceptable proposals on contracts
Feb. 27, 2019 The Forsa and SIPTU public services organised strike action on 18 February involving their members who work as community employment supervisors. These workers are responsible for running schemes to help the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged workers to get into regular employment. In 2009 the Labour Court ruled that they should be provided with a pension scheme but no government has taken action since then. The unions are calling on the government to act swiftly to provide supervisors with pension benefits as hundreds have been forced to retire on only the basic state pension.
Jan. 17, 2019 The INMO nurses' and midwives' union has announced a first day of strike action on 30 January with the possibility that five further 24-hour strikes will follow in February if the dispute over pay and recruitment is not resolved. In the meantime the SIPTU services union is calling the Health and Safety Executive to look at health sector pay in the context of the public sector pay deal and the Forsa public services union reports on the impact of the current pay deal which is delivering lower pension payments for some workers and a 1% pay increase for the lower paid
Jan. 03, 2019 Members of the INMO nurses' and midwives' union have voted 95% in favour of strike action over pay and staffing shortages. The union leadership was due to meet on 7-8 January to consider plans for a 24-hour strike. If it goes ahead it will be only the second strike in the union's 100-year history. INMO argues that urgent action is needed to tackle the major staffing shortages across the country with low pay one of the key issues. According to the union's figures, nurses and midwives are paid around EUR 5000-7000 a year less than other, comparable health professionals.
Dec. 05, 2018 After an 18-month campaign, social care workers have voted in favour of measures that will mean that they will recoup the impact of pay cuts and freezes they have suffered since the financial and economic crisis. The workers, employed by so-called Section 39 non-profit organisations, do many social service-related jobs that have counterparts in the public sector. While public sector workers are covered by a pay restoration agreement, Section 39 employees have had to fight for the right to have their pay restored on a similar basis.
Nov. 23, 2018 Following a surge in interest among local branches, the Forsa public services union has launched a debate about working time reduction with an international conference in Dublin on 22 November. The union underlines the potential of digitalisation to increase productivity and create the potential for a shorter working week. The conference included contributions from the UK where the Trade Union Confederation has called for a four-day week and from Germany where the IG Metall engineering union has negotiated major new agreements providing the potential for employees to reduce their working time.
Nov. 08, 2018 INMO, the nurses' and midwives' union, is balloting its members over strike action in protest at low pay and staffing shortages. If agreed, there will be 24-hour strike with proposals already to escalate this to two days of action in the following week if the government fails to respond. INMO says that for every four nursing vacancies there is only one application and that the health service is paying employment agencies EUR 10000 for every nurse or midwife they recruit. It underlines the importance of tackling this issue to ensure the safety of patients which is under threat as a result of the current staff shortages.
Oct. 10, 2018 Unions representing public service workers have secured important pay improvements that reverse some of the main changes introduced as austerity measures. Changes to public service pay scales meant that workers taken on from 2010 were at a disadvantage as they had to work two years longer to reach the top of the pay scale. Pay progression for these workers will now be adjusted by cutting out two points of the pay scale. Meanwhile, workers in social services in the non-profit sector (Section 39 organisations) will get a EUR 1000 increase next April in the first stage of a three-year process to bring their pay in line with public sector workers.
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.