Section 39, 10 and 56 agencies: Pay Proposal 2023.
Please note this is a live document and will be updated as further FAQs arise.
Last updated: 10 November 2023
Read the full text of the proposed agreement HERE.
On Tuesday 17th October, unions secured an agreement at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in relation to the long-running pay dispute between workers in Section 39 (health and disability services) Section 56 (services to children), Section 10 (homeless and addiction services), in community services and their counterparts employed directly by the state.
A proposal was agreed that acknowledges workers in Section 39, 10 and 56 agencies deserve pay equality.
This proposal is a significant step forwards for workers in Section 39, 10 and 56 organisations, and brings us closer to pay parity than we have been in a decade. It sets out a clear path for pay increases and there is a clear commitment to restoration of the link with public sector pay.
Earlier talks between unions and management broke down on 30th July 2023. The offer then was a 5% payment in two segments, consistingof a 3% increase from 1st of April 2023 and a 2% pay increase from the 1st of November 2023. A commitment to have further talks about future pay arrangements following any future successor agreement to the current (Building Momentum) agreement was also proposed as part of the package.
That proposal was rejected because it fell far short of the union position, which sought 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.
Following a consultation period with members, it was agreed that union members in a number of these organisations would be balloted for strike and industrial action. The ballot concluded on September 19th 2023 with overwhelming support from union members for taking industrial and strike action in pursuit of pay equality. A comprehensive media strategy was put in place, and indefinite strike action was due to commence on October 17th 2023. Extensive preparations were made for the strike action to go ahead.
On the afternoon of Monday October 16th, unions were invited to attend the WRC. Following lengthy talks unions secured an interim agreement, which is subject to members’ approval.
At that point, unions felt the proposals were worth taking back to members to ballot, and the strike was suspended to allow for consultation on the new set of WRC proposals.
If accepted, the proposals would mean members will receive the following
• An Increase of 3% backdated to 1st April 2023
• An Increase of 2% from 1st November 2023
• An Increase of 3% from 1st March 2024
These measures will result in a pay increase for members worth more than 8% within less than 12 months.
This is an interim agreement to ensure our members receive pay increases in advance of next public service agreement. It has been agreed we will engage further on or before the 1st December 2023.
If accepted, the aim is for members to receive the first increase to their salary, backdated to 1st April 2023, before the end of the year.
This proposal states the parties will re-engage before 1st December 2023 to agree further adjustment in funding to these organisations, giving regard to the terms of Building Momentum and any successor of Public Service Agreement.
The proposals specifically provide for the parties to reconvene under the auspices of the WRC no later than 1st December 2023. The purpose of this engagement will be to agree further adjustments in funding, for organisations and their staff, that will have regard to the terms of Building Momentum and the terms of any successor agreement.
For the first time the Government has acknowledged the need for sustainable funding in the sector, that the lack of funding has led to a recruitment and retention crisis, and that the pay of workers in Section 39, 10 and 56 organisations has fallen behind equivalent and comparable grades in public service organisations.
The Public Service Committee of Congress has yet to engage with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), to negotiate a successor to Building Momentum. It remains unknown at this stage when - or if - they will reach agreement on a successor before the end of the year.
Therefore, once a new public service pay agreement is in place, unions will engage with the funding bodies to secure similar terms and and implementation for those working in Section 56, 10 and 39 organisations.
For the first time the Government, as the main funding body, has acknowledged that our members’ pay has fallen behind equivalent and comparable grades in the public service. This proposal confirms that the funders are committed to fully deal with the issue before the end of the successor agreement to Building Momentum.
It was important that we got a commitment from the funding bodies that any agreement must include the terms of a successor Public Service Pay Agreement. This was vital to ensure that members working in section 39, 56 and 10 organisations receive similar pay increases to those working in the public service into the future.
If the proposed agreement is accepted, pay adjustments will be applied to the hourly rate of pay. This will mean that part-time workers, job sharers etc. will also benefit from the package.
All rates of pay linked to your basic salary would also increase.
All pay scales should remain within the parameters of public sector pay once the proposed increases have been applied.
The funding bodies have warned unions that no worker in receipt of the proposed increases should earn in excess of public sector pay scales.
If your employer has recently awarded a pay rise for workers in your organisation, this could be deductible from the increases outlined in the agreement. However, this will be dependent on what was agreed with your employer at the time of the increase.
If you have further questions about this, you should ask your manager/employer for further advice.
The package would apply to workers currently employed in Section 39, 56 and 10 employments.
This campaign covers all union members who work in Section 39, 56 and 10 organisations. The INMO, Fórsa and SIPTU chose key locations to ballot for industrial action, but the trade unions were clear this claim was on behalf of all our members working in this sector and must apply to all organisations.
There are no additional productivity measures in the WRC-proposed package.
The ballot will be an aggregate ballot involving Fórsa, Siptu, and the INMO. All three unions represent members across different organisations that will be impacted by the pay proposal. The ballot will be conducted under the auspices of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), at the conclusion of which, total votes in favour and total votes against will be tallied and a result declared.
An ‘aggregate ballot’ is one where each union is bound by the collective outcome of all ballots, the result is the result of the total vote, not the vote divided per union.
If the proposals are accepted by a majority of members across the three participating unions, we will advise the WRC immediately. The proposals will then become a formal agreement between the parties, made under the auspices of the WRC.
If the proposals are rejected by the majority of members across the three participating unions, the proposals are deemed to be withdrawn and without status. There will be no onus on the employer side to engage with the unions if this happens, and a return to industrial action would be likely.
Your union has recommended acceptance of these proposals.
It is a matter for each member to decide how to vote. If the proposals are rejected, we believe it would not be possible to achieve a better negotiated outcome that provides our members with pay increases and the opportunity to realign pay in line with the next public service pay agreement.
The participating unions have recommended that planned industrial action ballots be suspended while unions consult on the WRC package.
You should contact your local branch. If you are unsure of who to contact, please contact your closest Fórsa office:
• Cork 021 4255 210 email@example.com
• Limerick 061 319 177 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Galway 091 778 031 email@example.com
• Sligo 071 914 2400 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Dublin Head Office: 01 8171500 email@example.com