Community and Voluntary Sector Dispute: Explainer

Section 39, Section 56, and Section 10 Pay Dispute 2023

What’s the dispute about?

In 2022, we asked members across four organisations to ballot for industrial action and we received overwhelming support for industrial action.

Members took strike action between the 21st and 23rd September 2022, receiving support from the public and political parties alike.

In October 2022 the Minister for Health acknowledged in the Dáil that the Government is the “main and often sole funder” of these organisations, and its funding affects the ability to improve pay and conditions. There was support across the government for finding a cross party solution. They raised using the services of the Workplace Relations Commission in order to find a solution.

Regretfully, the proposal that was put forward on 31st July 2023 fell short of what could be acceptable. The current situation is unsustainable. The Government put forward a 5% increase to workers in Section 39, Section 56 and Section 10 from 1st January 2024, and a commitment to have further talks about future pay arrangements following any future successor to the current agreement, Building Momentum.

Throughout the multiple hearings held in the Workplace Relations Commission, we were always clear in relation to our claim. That was that we were seeking the full terms of the Building Momentum agreement (9.5%) and a process that would ultimately seek to restore the link to public service pay in the future.

We expressed upon the official side that the unions are determined to have the previous pay link with the public service restored given the significant recruitment and retention challenge within the services affected by this dispute.

Ultimately, the proposal presented from the official side caused a complete breakdown in talks.

Fórsa’s elected representatives subsequently met and agreed that it is abundantly clear that we can now only resolve this matter by resorting to a sustained campaign of industrial action.

They sanctioned a ballot for industrial action to commence the week of 28th August 2023.

The Government must act and needs to urgently address the funding of these organisations to make pay improvements for staff and stem the high rate of staff exits each year, across the sector.

What’s next?

The ballot will open the week of 28th August 2023 and close 19th September 2023, at 12.00 noon. You will receive email with your Unique Voting Code (UVC). If you have not, then email with your employer, personal email, and contact number.

Members working in these organisations should be treated with respect and have the vital public services that they carry out on behalf of the state acknowledged. This inequality needs to end.

Our colleagues in SIPTU and INMO will also be commencing their ballot for industrial action, and we remain united in the common goal of achieving fair and equal pay for members working across these vital services. We have identified several employments across the country to be balloted.

A sustained campaign of industrial action is now required to bring an acceptable resolution to this important dispute and your divisional executive is encouraging members to vote in favour of industrial action.

Local general meetings will be organised over the next couple of weeks, and we would encourage members to attend where all your questions can be answered.

There’s never been a better time to join a union, and it’s never been easier. Join Fórsa today.