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
After the surge in remote working as a result of the pandemic, trade unions in Ireland, Russia and Spain have welcomed new initiatives, including legislation and collective agreements, that regulate telework. Research by the Eurofound research agency also looks into the negative and positive implications of telework for workers’ autonomy and work-life balance raising again the challenges to ensure that workers have control over their working time and underlining the importance of current discussions at European level on the right to disconnect.
The ambiguous effects of telework In 2017, a joint report from the Eurofound research agency and the International Labour Organization observed that advances in digital technology were making it easier to work anytime and anywhere. The phenomenon of telework and mobile work has been increasing
The SIPTU trade union has just published findings from a survey of early years professionals showing that 43% of childcare workers are actively seeking another job due to low pay levels in the sector. The findings also show that 90% of workers struggle to make ends meet, 77% have no work sick pay scheme and just 10% receive paid maternity leave from their employer. More than seven in 10 workers have found dealing with COVID stressful while just over nine in 10 would consider leaving the profession in the next five years if there are no improvements in pay and conditions.
Public service trade unions have negotiated a new two-year agreement which will now be considered by each union’s national executive and put out to ballot of all individual members. The national executive of the Fórsa trade union has already decided to recommend the agreement to its members. The two-year agreement will run from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2022 and there will be a general pay increase of 1% or EUR 500, whichever is higher, in October of both years. In February 2022, an additional 1% will be available in sector bargaining funds. The agreement also provides for progress in
Workers in a range of non-governmental health and social service providers (Section 39 organisations) will begin strike action on 15 December. This is the latest stage in long-running campaign to ensure that workers in these bodies see their pay restored to pre-austerity levels in line with directly employed public sector workers. The action will be staggered across different organisations and will continue into January. Meanwhile, public sector unions have agreed to start talks with government over a new collective agreement on pay and conditions. The current Public Service Stability
Social care workers in Kerry and Cork have voted for industrial action in what is set to be a national campaign of strikes across what are called Section 39 organisations. These are non-government, publicly funded bodies that provide health and social services. In 2018 there was an agreement that employees in these organisations would, in line with the public sector, get pay rises to compensate for the cuts imposed during austerity. They are still waiting for this pay restoration and as many as 250 organisations across the country could be hit by strike action over the coming weeks. SIPTU
Public service unions Fórsa and SIPTU have called for urgent action to better protect healthcare and childcare staff against the COVID-19 virus. Fórsa says that figures show over 9000 health workers were infected at the beginning of last month and that many are being pushed back to work too quickly by local management in response to increased demand and shortages of staff. Meanwhile, SIPTU has been making a case for a change in a approach in the childcare sector where there is no requirement to wear masks or implement social distancing. The union wants a review of procedures, for staff to be
Public services union Fórsa has suspended industrial action by school secretaries planned to begin on 23 October. This was to be part of a long-running campaign to end a two-tier pay system that leaves most school secretaries earning just €12,500 a year, with irregular, short-term contracts that force them to sign on to receive benefits during the summer holidays and other school breaks. Following a commitment from the government the union has agreed to talks at the Workplace Relations Commission which will begin on 27 October.
Public service unions may be involved in new industrial action in two long-running disputes unless the government intervenes. The Forsa trade union has already set dates for strike action to try to resolve the two-tier pay system affecting school secretaries. Following the announcement of the action the government has made a commitment to address the problem but the union wants to see concrete proposals before it calls off the action. Meanwhile, Forsa is joined by SIPTU and INMO in considering a campaign of targeted action across non-profit providers of health and social services - Section 39
The Forsa public services union has negotiated a new agreement covering pharmacists in acute hospitals that includes a number of major improvements to pay and conditions. These include a shorter pay scale, an enhanced career structure, additional specialist and new senior posts, in addition to greater protections on the issue of weekend services, out of hours and extended working days. The union will now submit a similar claim to cover pharmacists working in community facilities.
The SIPTU union has called on the government to set a budget that includes a guaranteed living wage for all childcare workers along with a sick pay scheme. The living wage is €12.30 an hour while the average wage in the sector is €11.46 and the union argues that higher pay will be important in reducing the 40% staff turnover among childcare workers. SIPTU also points out that 79% of childcare workers don't have a sick pay scheme and this is inhibiting the sector's response to ensuring safe workplaces for both workers and children.
Public service unions SIPTU, Forsa and INMO have been involved in protests and are calling for action to support 200 workers who have lost their jobs following the closure of three care facilities run by the Dublin Sisters of Charity. Although independent the charity received significant public funding by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the unions want the HSE to be involved in negotiations over a fair redundancy package for the workers.