Fórsa is to ballot members in a number of ‘section 39’ service providers, with a view holding a one-day strike on 21st February. Siptu has also agreed to ballot its members.
In the latest development in the union’s campaign for pay justice in the sector – made up of organisations that are independent of the HSE but reliant on it for funding - a march and rally is being organised for 14th February.
The unions are campaigning for the restoration of pay cuts implemented during the financial crisis. These mirrored cuts in the public service, which has seen a gradual restoration of lost income over the last few years. But section 39 organisations have lagged behind – partly, but not entirely, for want of adequate State funding.
The Valentine’s Day rally is being organised with the ICTU community sector committee, which brings together all unions in the sector. It will see community sector workers protest alongside community employment supervisors who have strived for years to have a 2008 Labour Court pensions recommendation implemented.
Fórsa official Catherine Keogh said unions also wanted a proper structure for pay bargaining across the sector.
“As part of our general election campaign, Fórsa has called on political parties to commit to dealing with section 39 funding and pay as part of the public service pay negotiations, which will get underway later this year. Community sector staff deliver vital health and care services, and their pay and working conditions should be dealt with in the same way as colleagues in the mainstream public service,” she said.