Feature Article
Second pay adjustment under PSSA kicks in
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird

The second pay adjustment provided for in the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) came into effect from 1st October 2018. The adjustment is the second this year, following a 1% adjustment in January.

The second pay adjustment provided for in the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) came into effect from 1st October 2018. The adjustment is the second this year, following a 1% adjustment in January.


Updated salary scales for grades represented by the union, across the unions divisions are now being updated on the Fórsa website. Salary scales for the Education, Civil Service and Local Government divisions are already available, while updates on salary scales for the other divisions will be completed shortly.


Please see the links below for updated scales here:

Main provisions of the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA):

  • 1st January 2018: 1% pay adjustment
  • 1st October 2018: 1% pay adjustment
  • 1st January 2019: Pension levy threshold up from €28,750 to €32,000 (worth €325 pa)
  • 1st January 2019: 1% pay adjustment for those earning less than €30,000
  • 1st September 2019: 1.75% pay adjustment
  • 1st January 2020: Pension levy threshold increased to €34,500 (worth €250 pa)
  • 1st January 2020: 0.5% pay increase for those earning less than €32,000
  • 1st October 2020: 2% pay adjustment
Articles A
Pay restoration agreed for Section 39 agency workers
by Niall Shanahan

Fórsa and other unions representing staff working in HSE funded agencies (Section 39) secured an agreement on pay restoration for workers in the agencies at the beginning of October.

Fórsa and other unions representing staff working in HSE funded agencies (Section 39) secured an agreement on pay restoration for workers in the agencies at the beginning of October.

The measures were approved by Fórsa’s Health & Welfare divisional executive.

Under the proposals Section 39 workers will receive an additional payment of €1000 from April 2019. The deal is worth €7.7 million in 2019 alone.

The remaining pay restoration measures will be applied in 2020 and 2021, with full restoration for all Section 39 workers completed by October 2021.

  • 45% of members will have 89% of the loss they suffered restored on 30th April 2019
  • 56% of members will have 70% of loss restored
  • Roughly 85% of members will receive more than 50% of their loss back as soon as the measures are applied next year


Fórsa officials Catherine Keogh and Ian McDonnell said the proposals marked a successful conclusion to a very challenging process to achieve pay restoration for Fórsa members working in Section 39 agencies.

Catherine and Ian will host a series of pay restoration information meetings at Fórsa offices for members working in Section 39 agencies as follows:

  • Thursday 18th October: Dublin (Nerney’s Court Room 3) at 6pm
  • Thursday 8th November: Limerick at 1pm
  • Thursday 8th November: Cork at 5.30pm
  • Tuesday 12th November: Galway (venue to be confirmed due to refurbishment of Galway offices) at 2pm
  • Wednesday 13th November: Sligo at 1pm

Catherine said the unions had achieved a significant result by working together, and thanked staff at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) for their efforts in finalising proposals.

"This has been a long road to pay restoration for our members in Section 39 agencies. It was a difficult campaign, but the outcome demonstrates that this was a fight worth having, restoring pay to members who provide vital caring services. The result also acknowledges - at last - that Section 39 workers suffered directly at the hands of government cuts," she said. 

The other unions representing staff were Siptu, Unite and the INMO, working together as part of a group led by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

A copy of the WRC proposals on Section 39 pay restoration is available here.

Updates on the information meetings will be posted here.

Fórsa outlines immediate steps required for CHO networks
by Niall Shanahan

Fórsa’s Health & Welfare divisional executive has formally agreed to the terms of WRC proposals, issued in mid-September, regarding Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) networks and an operating model. The union wrote to the HSE this week identifying the immediate steps required to implement the proposals.

Fórsa’s Health & Welfare divisional executive has formally agreed to the terms of WRC proposals, issued in mid-September, regarding Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) networks and an operating model.


The proposals followed a series of engagements between the HSE and Fórsa at the WRC in August and September.


In order to facilitate talks, Fórsa suspended an instruction to members in August to cease cooperation with reporting arrangements in interim CHO governance structures.


The proposals cover a range of areas, including health and social care professionals, clerical admin, management grades, social care and primary care structures, and Grade VII evaluation.


Eamonn Donnelly, head of Fórsa’s Health & Welfare division, wrote to the HSE on Monday (8th October) identifying the immediate steps required to implement the proposals:

  • Sign-off on the role description of Community Healthcare Network Manager, followed by local discussion and agreement on the establishment of a learning site in each CHO area
  • Immediate examination of In-Charge III claims which have been processed through the Labour Court or adjudication service
  • Nominations for the joint union/management group for the examination of further claims
  • A formal response from the HSE on outstanding claims (hospital managers, heads of finance and employee relations managers) by the end of October
  • Joint referral to the WRC on the structures in social care
  • Joint referral to the WRC on the support sub-structure beneath the level of head of primary care
  • HSE to set out formal grounds for not conceding to Fórsa’s claim to have Grade VII posts eligible for the job evaluation scheme

Eamonn said that it would also be necessary to discuss confined competitions for Grades IV to VII in each CHO area, and to discuss terms of reference for a review of the McHugh/Doran report (2004) regarding career progression for health and social care professionals.


He said an increase in staff resources in the Job Evaluation Unit needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Unions secure measures to resolve public service new entrants’ pay issue
by Niall Shanahan

Newly agreed measures on public service new entrants’ pay will mean that public servants will no longer be at a long-term disadvantage based on the year in which they were recruited.

When unions negotiated the Haddington Road Agreement in 2013, they successfully merged the pre-2010 and post-2010 pay scales. The remaining issue to be resolved was that post-2010 recruits had two additional points on their pay scales, which means it takes them two years longer to reach the top of their scale.


The newly agreed measures identify two points on each pay scale - year four and year eight - which new entrant public servants will now skip.


Under the terms agreed in the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) last year, we achieved a commitment to resolve the remaining issue, which has now been brought to a conclusion two years earlier than originally anticipated. This completes the task we began by merging the pay scales in 2013.


The measures will apply on the next increment date falling on or after 1st March 2019.


For more information, a full copy of the agreed measures and an illustrated model of how new entrants measures are to be applied, visit the Fórsa website.

Raise The Roof, not the rent
by Hazel Gavigan

Last week's Raise the Roof  rally took place outside Leinster house. There was a strong Fórsa presence, with branch campaign officers, activists and staff from throughout the country in attendance.

The rally coincided with a cross-party motion in the Dáil calling on the Government to enact legislation to lower rents, make it illegal to evict private sector tenants into homelessness and insert a right to housing into the constitution.


The motion also called for a doubling of the capital expenditure on public housing in Budget 2019 and subsequently passed by a wide margin.


Fórsa was well represented with staff and activists out in full support. Sheila Nunan, president of ICTU was MC and speakers included Orla O’Connor, director, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Síona Cahill, president, Union of Students in Ireland and Fr. Peter McVerry.


Senator Frances Black and singer/songwriter Damien Dempsey performed at the rally.


There are approximately ten thousand people who are homeless in Ireland with children making up more than a third of the numbers in emergency accommodation. This figure does not include ‘hidden homelessness’, which refers to people living in squats or ‘sofa surfing’, women and children staying in domestic violence refuges and people who sleep rough.


Fórsa lead organiser, Joe O’Connor expressed his gratitude in particular to the union’s branch campaign officers after the rally: “They played an integral role in the success of the day both by stewarding the stage and mobilising Fórsa activists to come out in large numbers.”


Congress campaign shows appetite for change
by Niall Shanahan

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ report on its housing lobbying campaign shows strong support among TDs for radical action to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ report on its housing lobbying campaign shows strong support among TDs for radical action to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis.


The lobby campaign focused on TDs in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and independents in government, and sought their support for the Congress Charter for Housing Rights.


The Charter calls for the declaration of a housing emergency, an end to evictions into homelessness, action of security of tenure and rent certainty and establishing a legal right to housing.


The campaign showed the strongest support for the measures outlined in the Charter amongst Fianna Fáil TDs, with the overwhelming majority of the parliamentary party stating they were ‘very supportive’ or ‘broadly supportive’.


There was also support among Fine Gael TDs and some independents for some of the measures. The lobby campaign took place between February and June this year.


Congress President Sheila Nunan said the results of the lobby campaign “showed clear support for a significant and radical change in policy on housing, to tackle the emergency.


“We're told the land is there and the resources can be found. It now seems clear that the political appetite for a change of direction is also there,” Ms Nunan said.


The report is available to download here.

Fórsa publishes lobbying records
by Niall Shanahan & Martina O'Leary

Fórsa has submitted its returns to the Lobby Register covering the period from 1st May to 31st August 2018. This brings the union's total number of returns for 2018 to 24.

Fórsa has submitted its returns to the Lobby Register covering the period from 1st May to 31st August 2018. This brings the union's total number of returns for 2018 to 24.


Lobbying organisations are required to publish their returns no later than 21 days after the end of the relevant reporting period. 


Fórsa submitted 11 returns for the most recent reporting period. The deadline for submissions for this period expired on 21st September.


The latest lobbying returns submitted by Fórsa cover the following matters:

The Regulation of Lobbying Act was signed into law in 2015. Failure to submit a return of lobbying activities carried out during the period by the deadline is a contravention of the Regulation of Lobbying Act.


Enforcement provisions under the act came into effect last year, giving the Standards in Public Office Commission the authority to investigate and prosecute contraventions of the Act and to levy fixed payment notices for late filing of lobbying returns.


Fórsa members who undertake lobbying activity are not required to make a return unless they are lobbying under instruction from the union, such as in the event of a ‘grassroots’ campaign. 


All lobbying activity undertaken by Fórsa staff is reportable, apart from activity classified as ‘excepted communications’ under the legislation.


For more details about the legislation and the register, visit lobbying.ie.


See also: Fórsa trade union profile page on Lobbying.ie.

Also in this issue
Careers in Fórsa
Assistant General Secretary (Dublin)

Assistant General Secretary (Dublin)


Fórsa is seeking an assistant general secretary who will be headquartered in our Dublin office. This senior post involves the provision of a wide range of trade union services to Fórsa branches and members. The contract will be offered on a permanent basis subject to a probationary period. The initial assignment will be to provide services to our members in the Civil Service division of the union.


Responsibilities will include union recruitment and organisation as well as negotiations with employers on all matters relating to members’ pay and working conditions.


Applicants should have detailed knowledge and experience of employment law and industrial relations practice, considerable experience of negotiations and of representing groups and individuals, and a demonstrable commitment to trade unionism and social justice. They should also have excellent organisational, communications and team-working skills, be self-starters, IT literate and hold a valid full driving licence. The salary payable reflects the senior nature of this post.


If you think you have the experience, skills, drive and energy for this demanding role please apply with a full CV setting out how your experience and skills meet the requirements of the job to:


The Senior General Secretary, Fórsa, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1. D01R2C5


To be received by midday on Friday 26th October 2018.


Further information in relation to the duties and requirements of this post is available here.


Fórsa is an equal opportunities employer.

Fórsa Insights podcast – Love In The Wild
by Niall Shanahan

Fórsa Insights is a series of events, talks, film screenings and performances that allows us to explore a range of issues connected to the work of the union and its members. This podcast looks at Lisa Walsh’s play Love In The Wild performed by Anto Seery. Lisa is a social worker and Fórsa member.


In September we hosted a performance of the play at our head office in Nerney’s Court, Dublin. This was followed by a public interview with Lisa and Anto as part of the Fórsa Insights series.



The podcast features some strong language, listener discretion is advised.

Diary marker: Fórsa Women’s Activist Network launch Saturday 3rd November

The launch of the Fórsa Women’s Activist Network will take place on Saturday 3rd November at 11am in our Nerney's Court Office.


This national meeting is the first of a series of new Equality Networks to be established by the Equality Committee over the coming months.


The meeting will be opened by ICTU General Secretary Patricia King and will feature speakers on the gender pay gap, access to flexible working schemes, the role of women within Fórsa and other topics of interest to activists across the union.


Places are available to members on a first come first served basis, lunch will be provided. To book a place, please send an email to this address with 'Fórsa Women’s Activist Network' in the subject heading.  


A full programme will be published shortly and made available via a special news bulletin.

Full income inequality assessments needed – Fórsa
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird


Fórsa has called for equality impact assessments on changes to welfare and benefit payments, as an upcoming Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report found budgetary decisions in the past 10 years have had a disproportionate impact on women with children compared to their male equivalents.


Fórsa official and equality officer Andy Pike said the report’s findings demonstrated a need for equality impact assessments when making changes to benefit and welfare schemes.


“We welcome the report’s authors calling for gender impact assessments on tax-benefit policy changes. However, such assessments must be conducted before changes are implemented and should not be limited to gender, and also examine impacts on other groupings such as people with disabilities,” he said.


Andy said Fórsa has a particular interest in seeking equality impact assessments as 75% of the union’s membership are women. He added that seeking the introduction of impact assessments was a central part of Fórsa’s wider equality policy.


The ESRI report, which will be published at the end of this month, examines the gender impact of tax-benefit policy in Ireland over the past 10 years. It says within couples with children, women had less disposable income than men, particularly where incomes were not shared.


It also found that changes to welfare and benefit payments and schemes didn’t have a major gender impact on single men or women without children or couples without children.


You can find more information some of the reports findings here. The report will be published on the ESRI website at the end of October.

Fórsa on Instagram
by Roisin McKane

As Fórsa’s social media presence continues to grow we’ve embraced the visual playground of Instagram.


Instagram has become increasingly popular, communicating to audiences using a creative combination of pictures, videos and text, and this year eclipsed Twitter in the rankings of social media popularity.


While its parent company (Facebook) continues to dominate, recent controversies have led to a migration of younger audiences away from the blue giant.


We hope to reach a new and wider audience on Instagram, and that our presence there will be attractive to Fórsa members looking to get involved and engage with the union.


To follow the Fórsa Instagram story, and keep up to date with all the latest union news and updates, click here.

Fórsa Cavan Monaghan branch broadcasts from European Parliament
by Hazel Gavigan

Fórsa’s Cavan Monaghan branch delegation included Barry Cunningham (assistant general secretary) and Paul Gibbons of Fórsa’s Monaghan branch who joined MEP Matt Carthy for a live panel discussion in the European Parliament.

Carthy described the members of Fórsa’s Cavan and Monaghan branches who travelled to Brussels last week as “committed representatives of their fellow workers who used the opportunity provided to bring their concerns directly to the heart of EU decision making.”

Topics discussed included Ireland’s current housing crisis and Fórsa’s involvement in the Raise the Roof campaign.

The panel also examined Brexit and its implications on workers, particularly in border counties.

Barry also spoke about Fórsa’s upcoming campaign to achieve pay parity for school secretaries.

Currently, many school secretaries are paid via grants instead of by the Department of Education directly. This leaves them without a pension, having no sick leave entitlements and in a position whereby they require social welfare assistance throughout the summer months.

You can watch the full discussion here.