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Minister accused of 'washing his hands' of pay dispute involving workers providing essential services

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Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath (Niall Carson/PA)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath (Niall Carson/PA)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath (Niall Carson/PA)

THE Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has been accused of “washing his hands” of a pay dispute involving workers providing essential services during the pandemic.

Hundreds of staff at HSE-funded health and social service organisations are planning to ramp up industrial action in a long-running row over their pay.

Staff at the so-called section 39 organisations held an emergency meeting today to agree their next steps in a campaign to have their wages restored.

They took pay cuts similar to public servants during the recession but –unlike state employees– claim most have not had them reversed.

Concerns were raised at today’s meeting that some of 50 organisations that were due restoration on October 1 under an agreement are claiming an inability to pay.

Siptu said in a statement that Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, declined an invitation from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to intervene.

“The decision of the minister to wash his hands of this dispute not only beggars belief but has left a bitter taste in the mouths of our members,” said Siptu public administration and community division organiser, Adrian Kane.

“These are the very same workers who made sure essential services have been maintained throughout this Covid-19 pandemic.

“The appetite on the ground for a sustained period of targeted industrial action can no longer be wished away by the government.”

Fórsa official Catherine Keogh said the union’s divisional executive sanctioned a ballot for industrial action at a number of organisations.

They include the National Council of the Blind, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland, National Guidedogs for the Blind, South Doc, and Western Alzheimer’s.

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Independent.ie has contacted the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for a comment.


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