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.
Jun. 27, 2019 Around 10000 health workers took 24-hour strike action on 26 June to put pressure on the ministry of health to act on the results of a major job evaluation exercise. Many workers - including those involved in portering, household and catering services and employed as health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs and surgical instrument technicians - have been waiting for their job and pay to be upgraded but the government has stalled on implementing the job evaluation. The SIPTU union agreed to further talks on 26 June but said it was still preparing for further action. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Jun. 26, 2019
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.
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.