LABOUR councillor Conor Sheehan has demanded that Government come to the table and hammer out a deal to meet the needs of health and community workers in Limerick.
Workers in the sector are to take indefinite strike action from tomorrow (Tuesday) following ballots carried out by Fórsa, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), and SIPTU.
“The results of the ballot by three unions will come as no surprise to the Government. From speaking to workers in the health and community sector in Limerick, it’s clear that they are at the absolute end of their tether,” Cllr Sheehan told the Limerick Post.
“Meanwhile, this Government has utterly dragged their heels on tackling the pressing issues of pay, terms and conditions that are plaguing the health service.
“Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith raised the concerns of these workers as a priority question in the Dáil with the Minister last week, so it is really disappointing to learn that no attempt at progress has been made.”
Cllr Sheehan hit out that as far back as last November, the Dáil backed a Labour Party motion calling for a pay rise for these workers in line with recent public sector pay agreements, and the establishment of a standing forum and mechanism for collective bargaining on pay and conditions in the sector.
“Instead, the offer that has been made to workers is derisory. Labour is demanding that Government gets serious, gets around the table with the unions and hammer out a deal to meet the real needs of the workers.
“Many workers in section 39 organisations, section 56 organisations, and section 10 organisations have had no pay rise since 2008, there are serious disparities between their pay rates and that of comparable workers within the HSE and other state agencies, many don’t even have the basic allowances or leave provisions of their comparable workers such as transport allowances and there is a serious morale, recruitment, and retention issue. It’s abysmal.
“Workers in Limerick are forced to leave the sector in search of better pay, terms and conditions, and who can blame them?” he concluded.