Thursday 23 January 2020

Union vows not to give an inch on pay, conditions

Caroline Crawford

Meanwhile, members of the Impact trade union are calling for a ballot on industrial action if any changes to pay or working hours for public and voluntary sector employees are implemented.

The trade union voted in favour of Croke Park II, but saw the deal shot down by the No votes of several other unions.

It is now set to debate the deal at its conference in Portlaoise over the next two days.

As the Labour Relations Commission secured extra time to negotiate a settlement with unions, Impact warned that it would not accept any changes to the deal that would leave its members worse off.

Impact spokesman Niall Shanahan said any such changes would cause a serious problem for the union, and this had been made clear to Labour Relations Commission chief executive Kieran Mulvey.

"Anything that would be detrimental to our members' terms and conditions by any extent would be unacceptable," he added.

Two Impact divisional conferences take place in Portlaoise today. The health and welfare divisional conference will be attended by over 200 delegates representing about 30,000 health workers. Around 80 delegates will also go to the services and enterprises divisional conference taking place today.

Ballot

Among the motions to be debated is a call to ballot for industrial action if any pay cuts or increases in the working week are implemented for public and voluntary sector employees.

The health and welfare divisional conference began last night with an address by Tony Martin, chairman of Impact's health division. He called for unity, both in IMPACT and the wider trade union movement.

He also hit out at Health Minister James Reilly, describing his proposals as "foolhardy".

"The current health minister has consistently declined to meet with us despite numerous requests," he said. "These are huge departures for a health service already creaking under the strain of falling numbers, shrinking funds and the blunt instrument of the recruitment moratorium."

Yesterday, the conference heard how staff working in the community and voluntary sectorss were feeling the strain.

"The majority of staff in the sector have had a pay freeze since 2008," said Impact official Ashley Connolly.

"Most have taken a pay cut, while some have even had multiple pay cuts on top of a reduced working week."

She added that staff working in organisations funded by state bodies, such as the HSE, did not have the job protection of the Croke Park agreement.

She said that in many cases, staff were taking on the cost-saving burden in order to protect services and prevent closures.

Irish Independent

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