Buck passing will not stave off strike action

Ivana Bacik TD
12 October 2023

Questioning the Tanaiste in the Dail today, Labour leader Ivana Bacik urged action for workers in the community and voluntary sector ahead of planned strikes next Tuesday.

Deputy Bacik said:

“They say ignorance is bliss but this Government will get a rude wake up call next Tuesday when workers from the community, health and voluntary sectors go on strike.

“It’s unbelievable that Government could let it get this far. I was deeply disappointed by the apathetic response I received from the Tanaiste when questioning him on this in the Dail today.

“These workers visit almost every household in every community. They pick up the slack where our health service fails.

“Their demands are most modest – pay parity with workers employed directly by the HSE. Government is the paymaster. They can easily resolve this dispute and start treating these vital workers with respect. Hope is not a strategy.

“If the strike action goes ahead next week, Labour will stand firmly with these workers. It’s the absolute last resort for workers and their families and it’s action that they’re not taking lightly.

“Many workers in section 39 organisations, section 56 organisation and section 10 organisations have had no pay rise since 2008, there are serious disparities between their pay rates and that of comparable workers within the HSE and other state agencies, many don’t even have the basic allowances or leave provisions of their comparable workers such as transport allowances and there is a serious morale, recruitment and retention issue. It’s abysmal.

“To add insult to injury, nothing was done in this week’s Budget to even offer them hope of resolution.

“Workers are forced to leave the sector in search of better pay, terms and conditions, and, after the contempt shown to them by this Government, who can blame them?

“One of the most galling things of all in this is Government has had ample opportunity to act. As far back as last November the Dáil backed our motion calling for a pay rise for these workers in line with recent public sector pay agreements, and the establishment of a standing forum and mechanism for collective bargaining on pay and conditions in the sector.

“They’re not asking for the sun, moon and stars. They’re asking for fair pay for a fair day’s work.”

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