The Labour Party, Sinn Féin and the Social Democrats have expressed their support for a new funding model for ‘Section 39’ agencies, under which community and voluntary sector organisations are funded, to deliver care and other services by the HSE.
Fórsa members working in a small number of agencies are currently being balloted for industrial action in the latest phase of the union’s campaign for pay justice in independent organisations that rely on State funding to deliver vital health and care services.
So far, the campaign for pay justice has resulted in €1,000 payments for workers in 50 organisations. Fórsa is committed to completing the process of pay restoration for workers in the community and voluntary sector.
Next week (Friday 14th February), Section 39 members from Fórsa and SIPTU will join CE supervisors and assistant supervisors in a march and rally, concluding at the offices of the Department of Finance, to highlight the failure to complete the process of pay restoration in Section 39 agencies.
Unions will rally behind a message for the new government: “Unfinished business: Don’t ignore community services.”
Fórsa sought responses to a range of issues raised with political parties during the election campaign, which Fórsa published today. On the issue of developing a new funding model for ‘Section 39’ agencies, Labour, Sinn Féin and the Social Democrats expressed their support, with all three parties including the commitment in their manifestos.
The union’s assessments are based on party manifestos and other official election pledges. Fórsa also sent a draft to each party to give them the opportunity to clarify their positions if they wanted to.
Fórsa official Catherine Keogh said: “While support from these three parties is welcome, it remains to be seen if the next government is serious about completing the process of pay justice we’ve fought for. These workers deliver high quality public services, but in a sector now characterised by high staff turnover because of the lack of movement on pay, as staff move on to better pay opportunities elsewhere.
“This creates uncertainty and delay for service users, which we want to avoid at all costs. For the next government, this is unfinished business. If they are ambitious in their approach to government, this is something they need to resolve quickly so that everyone can move on,” she said.