Government’s failure to support vital community workers must end now

11 October 2023
  • Government’s lack of engagement with Section 39, Section 56 and Section 10 workers community workers is a dereliction of duty
  • Workers deserve pay parity with their public sector colleagues
  • Governments needs to save our services and intervene ahead of strike action

Labour spokesperson on Health Duncan Smith TD hosted an event in the Oireachtas today to provide Oireachtas Members with the reasons that Section 39 (health services), Section 56 (services to children) and Section 10 (homeless services)  are going on strike on the 17th of October.

Deputy Smith said:

“Today, I am here speaking with Section 39, Section 56 and Section 10 workers who have been consistently ignored by Government and forced to take strike action from October 17th. We heard from ICTU, SIPTU, FORSA and the INMO.

“These workers are the backbone of our social care system. They provide essential services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. They work in hospitals, hospices, community care settings, and homeless shelters. 

“Yet, despite the vital work they do, these workers are paid 10-20% less than their public sector counterparts. This is despite the fact that the agencies these workers work for are largely state funded. They also have no link to public pay grades. This has to change.

“It is simply unbelievable that yesterday we had a budget that did not mention measures to settle this dispute.

“This pay disparity is simply unacceptable. It is unfair to the workers themselves, and it is damaging to the quality of the services they provide.

“The pay disparity issue is also leading to a huge staff turnover. Workers are leaving for better paid jobs in the HSE. This is making it difficult for these agencies to recruit and retain staff. This is having a knock-on effect on services.

“The workers in Section 39, Section 56 and Section 10 have had enough. They have balloted for indefinite strike action from October 17th. This is a last resort. The Government could resolve this strike but need to come to the table and engage. They need to meet with the unions representing these workers and negotiate a fair pay deal. They need to show that they value the essential work that these workers do. If the Government fails to act, the consequences will be severe.”

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