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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 17 January, 2018
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Siptu warns of strike action by Section 39 health care workers over pay issues

Some 12,000 Section 39 workers receive dual salary funding between the HSE and voluntary contributions.

SIPTU members working in Section 39 organisations protest over pay issues
SIPTU members working in Section 39 organisations protest over pay issues
Image: Siptu

SIPTU REPRESENTATIVES HAVE warned that thousands of workers employed by Section 39 organisations providing vital health care services could strike in February over pay issues.

Section 39 organisations are voluntary organisations who have service legal agreements with the HSE to provide health and social care within communities.

Some 12,000 Section 39 workers receive dual salary funding between the HSE and voluntary contributions.

Their main salary funding comes from the HSE through a grant. The grant was cut back in 2010, leading Section 39 salaries to be cut in line with those in the public sector.

However, Siptu has said that while public sector staff are beginning to see pay restoration, that isn’t the case for Section 39 workers.

Pay restoration for thousands of workers providing public services is set to rise again by 1% on 1 January.

Siptu has said this will further grow the pay gap between members in Section 39 organisations and their colleagues providing vital care services.

“It makes the lack of pay justice for Section 39 workers even more unbearable and only serves to harden their resolve during the current ballot for industrial action,” Siptu health division organisation Paul Bell said in a statement.

Balloting for the strike is currently ongoing. If Siptu members in Section 39 organisations decide to vote yes, strike action will be taken on 12 February 2018.

Our members have done everything possible to avoid a strike which would impact on some of Ireland’s most vulnerable citizens.
Unfortunately, due to the actions and inactions of the government and the individual Section 39 employers, they increasingly believe that their only option is strike action.

The Siptu Health Division has made an application to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health for a hearing in mid-January concerning pay justice for Section 39 organisation workers.

“Our request for a Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing is to ensure that the public and elected representatives are aware of the facts concerning how our members are being forced into taking strike actions,” Bell said.

Siptu has requested that representatives of the HSE, Department of Health, Department of Public Expenditure, and Section 39 employers’ organisations attend the hearing.

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