Three trade unions – public services union Fórsa, general union SIPTU and nurses’ and midwives union INMO – have joined forces with the support of the ICTU confederation to secure a pay rise and collective bargaining forum for workers in voluntary and community services. The unions argue that many of these workers provide essential services but have not seen a pay rise since the 2008-09 economic and financial crisis. The aim is for a 3% pay rise this year and to establish a forum for future collective bargaining. The unions have also approached the government to get it to recognise its role in
SIPTU, the union that represents around 6000 workers in early years education, has welcomed the government’s decision to increase funding for the sector with an additional €69 million in the 2022 budget. With average pay at €11.91 an hour, the union is calling for urgent action on pay in order to tackle recruitment and retention in the sector where around four in 10 workers are looking for alternative employment. SIPTU is calling for pay talks to begin as soon as possible in the newly established Early Years Joint Labour Committee where a negotiated pay increase will be legally enforced.
Unions representing healthcare workers have called for immediate talks with the Health Services Executive to discuss how to recognise healthcare workers’ efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. SIPTU, Fórsa, and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation raised the issue at the Labour Court, which acknowledged the extraordinary efforts of health staff and called on all parties to begin “effective engagement” to resolve the matter. In line with practice in several other European countries, the unions are looking for a bonus, pay addition or extra leave.
A national one-day strike planned for 15 September by public services union Fórsa involving school secretaries and caretakers was deferred following significant concessions by the education department. The department finally conceded that all school secretaries should be placed on the public service clerical officer scale, bringing to an end a four-decade old two-tier pay system. The improvements, due to come into effect from 1 September 2021, will also see equalisation of annual leave arrangements on the basis of public service clerical officer provisions. The union said it expected the new
The Fórsa public services trade union has rejected what it described as a ‘derisory’ offer from the Department of Education in a long-running dispute over the pay and conditions of school secretaries. The union has been campaigning for years to end the unequal treatment of school secretaries employed by the Department of Education and those employed by schools. The latter are on much lower pay rates and have inferior rights to sickness and annual leave. Fórsa has not ruled out the possibility of industrial action. Meanwhile, social care workers in intellectual disability services have voted
The Fórsa and SIPTU public service unions have welcomed the government’s new ‘Blended Working Policy Statement,’ which would see the civil service switch from pandemic-related remote working provisions to long-term ‘blended working’ arrangements between September 2021 and March 2022. However, both unions want to see a rapid roll-out across the entire public service, rather than being confined to Government departments and agencies. They also underline the importance of some of the statement’s key points such as the commitment to a consistent approach and to transparency and fairness on access
The Fórsa public service union is urging its members to back the four-day week campaign by signing up to a global petition to encourage employers to pilot a four-day working week. The initiative seeks to identify and recruit employers to trial a shorter working week without loss of pay or productivity. The aim will be to reach out to employers identified with significant employee support and encourage them to join the global pilot in 2022. Participating employers will receive the support of experts from the four-day week organisation and university researchers from Harvard, Oxford and Boston
Additional unpaid working time introduced as an austerity measure eight years ago continues to be a drain on morale and productivity across the civil and public service. That’s according to a report by the public service committee of the ICTU confederation. The report says the additional hours fall hardest on women, and are counterproductive in terms of service delivery and productivity. They remain “a deep and primary industrial relations grievance” among public servants, it says. In particular, the report argues not only that It has never been correct to assume that increased working time
The Fórsa public services trade union has published a new report to support its call on the government to “harness the productive power of sectoral bargaining” which it argues will improve wage levels and pay equality. The report puts Ireland near the bottom of the scale on worker representation and participation in economic decision-making and argues that collective bargaining can deliver benefits to both workers and employers, while underpinning better outcomes for society and the economy as a whole. The report would contribute to the work of the high-level working group which is examining
A survey of student early years educators, carried out by the SIPTU trade union, found that one third intended to leave the sector, with low pay the main issue forcing them into a change of career or into working abroad. A massive 94% of students don’t believe the current wages in the sector are fair. Of the 945 people surveyed, over half are currently working in the sector as well as studying and of these 47% are earning below the living wage of €12.30 per hour. The union wants to see a publicly funded model of early years education and childcare which includes a mechanism for ensuring
Public services union Fórsa has written to the chief executives of all local authorities to ask them to engage with four-day week pilot programmes. This is the latest move in the union’s campaign for reduced working time without loss of pay or productivity. Fórsa is part of a coalition of employers, unions, environmental and women’s campaign groups, which is calling for a gradual, steady and managed transition to a shorter working week in all sectors of the economy. The union will also be talking to the government about support for the initiative and is hoping to involve public and private
Public services union Fórsa has asked the government to open negotiations over an agreement on remote working. The union notes that there have been some positive outcomes from the recent increase in telework as a result of the pandemic, but an agreement is needed to regulate what could be a long-term shift in the organisation of work across the public sector. Fórsa has set out some key elements for the agreement which include, among others: agreed guidelines for identifying functions that can be performed remotely; fair access and the right to request remote work; right to decline remote work
The government has put forward a proposal to set up a joint labour committee (JLC) that would determine minimum pay and working conditions for the childcare sector. Currently there is no sector bargaining covering childcare workers and unions have been campaigning for years to tackle low pay and precarious employment. JLCs are independent bodies that exist in sectors like security and cleaning where there is no sector bargaining. They issue employment regulation orders (ERO) setting minimum pay rates and conditions. SIPTU says that a JLC would provide an opportunity for the union and the IBEC
Members of the SIPTU services union working in the private, non-profit Bon Secours Health System are to commence a national ballot for industrial action in order to secure a job evaluation process for up to 500 support grade workers. Bon Secours and SIPTU have a long-standing agreement linking the pay and working conditions in the organisation to those of workers in the public health systems. The actions of management in recent weeks have threatened this link and the employers are refusing to engage with the union. SIPTU underlines the fact that support grade workers, including health care