Government has failed Section 39 workers

Labour Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD, has repeated his call for the pay of Section 39 workers to be restored, and as workers confirmed they would now go on strike, said the Government had failed them by not reaching agreement on starting pay restoration by the end of 2018.

Deputy Kelly said:

“For the want of a €1.5 million confidence boosting payment, Section 39 workers will now go on strike in September. If the Department of Health and the HSE had committed to paying this, it would have shown a 1% pay restoration for workers in 2018.

“I cannot understand why the Government, which has said it wants to resolve this issue, has allowed it to reach this point.

“In the context of the overall health budget of nearly €15 billion I find this failure to reach agreement over €1.5 million bizarre.

“Thousands of workers across Section 39 bodies provide vital services in communities across Ireland, and deserve the same respect and pay restoration as other publicly funded bodies have implemented. Section 39 employees carry out invaluable work in our hospices, disability organisations and many other agencies.

“The people who rely on these services cannot be let down by the Government who seem intent on washing their hands of the problem.

“It is now a decade since grants to Section 39 organisations were cut during the recession, and while public service pay is being restored, Section 39 workers are still on the reduced wage.

“This is clearly frustrating for them and frankly unfair, especially when their Section 38 colleagues are seeing improvements.

“The Labour Party stand with the campaign by SIPTU, Fórsa, UNITE and the INMO for pay restoration for their members.”