Strike action begins in care services

Join a trade union that wins! Women from community and voluntary sector agencies funded by the HSE protesting for fair pay in Galway

One day strike action today by Fórsa members at St. Josephs Foundation in Charleville, Co. Cork

Unions step up action for improved funding and pay in State funded agencies

Fórsa trade union members at St. Josephs Foundation in Charleville, Co. Cork are taking strike action today as a series of three consecutive one-day strike actions commences today (Wednesday) in community and voluntary sector agencies.

St. Joseph’s Foundation provides a range of services and supports for people with disabilities, and is the lead agency for the two North Cork Children disability Network (CDN) teams.

The strike action today forms part of the ICTU-led Valuing Care, Valuing Community campaign.

The campaign aims to achieve improved terms and conditions of employment for health and social care professionals and other staff employed in agencies funded by the HSE and other State bodies, where staff are employed on lower pay and lesser conditions than equivalent grades in the HSE and other agencies.

Up to a third of staff in these agencies are leaving their jobs each year to seek better employment in similar work elsewhere. Unions say urgent Government action is needed to address the funding of organisations in the sector, to make pay improvements for staff, stem the high rate of staff exits each year and fulfil recruitment targets for vital health services, including disability and homeless services.

Fórsa assistant general secretary Eddie Walsh said: “Government is failing to grasp the link between its chronic underfunding of the services we’re talking about and the failure to meet the HSE’s recruitment targets in, for example, disability services.

“The outgoing head of the HSE has acknowledged they’re having problems meeting targets for disability services nationally, including unfilled roles in 18 organisations funded by the State.

“These agencies cannot compete on employment terms with other public service agencies, including the HSE. Our members are telling us that long and costly recrutiment efforts are not working. People are simply not applying for the jobs as they can get better employment terms elsewhere. This has led to service delivery issues and growing waiting lists,” he said.

Action by members of Fórsa, Siptu and the INMO is taking place today in the following employments:

  • St. Josephs Foundation
  • Irish Wheelchair Association Cork
  • EmployAbility Cork

Industrial action by Fórsa members in Galway and Mayo takes place tomorrow (Thursday), while one day strike action by staff at Enable Ireland, Cork and Kerry, will take place on Friday (23rd September).

Research published last year by Fórsa trade union shows very high annual staff exit rates from the sector, of up to 33% annually, which is leading to increased recruitment costs and increasing pressure on existing staff to maintain services.

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