Siptu’s call on Section 39 workers' pay

Siptu health division organiser, Paul Bell

Siptu says a deal on sleep-over allowances secured with the HSE for the country’s 13,000 Section 39 workers, must pave the way for the same pay restoration for those workers as agreed for the country’s public servants under the latest public service pay deal.

While hundreds of thousands of public servants last week saw a hike in their wages under the new agreement, the workers in Section 39 companies saw no increase.

Section 39 employees are not public servants, but their employers are grant-aided by the HSE to provide services mainly in the health and social services sectors.

Traditionally their pay has been linked to rates within the public service. However, while they experienced the cuts implemented in the recession years, there has, so far, been no sign of them securing the newly-agreed increases.

Siptu says the HSE, the Department of Health, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform have repeatedly insisted they have no role or input into pay for workers in Section 39 organisations.

However, in recent days, the HSE and union representatives were in the Workplace Relations Commission where, according to Siptu, the HSE agreed to provide funds for Section 39 workers to pay sleep-over allowances and instructed how the monies should be allocated to workers entitled to the payment.

Siptu health division organiser, Paul Bell, said the deal has seen the HSE “overtly and formally directing our members should receive payments owed to them”.

“It is now up to the HSE and the Government to ensure that the wider dispute involving the restoration of pay for workers across the Section 39 organisations is resolved,” he said.

Mr Bell said his 8,000 Section 39 members — Fórsa represents a further 5,000 — are being balloted at present about strike action for February 14.

“The HSE, Department of Health and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform have continued to ignore Labour Court recommendations which uphold our members’ pay link with the public service on the grounds that they have no role or input into pay for workers in Section 39 organisations,” he said.

“The agreement at the WRC undermines this assertion by the HSE and the departments that they have no responsibility in the matter.”

Mr Bell said he has written to Health Minister Simon Harris and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe on four separate occasions requesting meetings, but said they have declined these requests.


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