Community healthcare workers protest for better pay and conditionsGary Ibbotson 12 May 2022
Trade union members working in the community sector and for Section 39 healthcare organisations protested in Dublin city centre today last week to highlight the need for better pay and working conditions.
Taking place on Tuesday, May 3, 300 protestors marched from The Custom House on Custom House Quay down to Merrion Square to hold a rally outside Dáil Eireann.
Activists from SIPTU, Forsa, and the INMO all addresses the rally and called on the Government to listen to the workers demands.
SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said their demands were “reasonable”.
“The Government are not listening to the just and reasonable demands of workers in the community sector and Section 39 organisations for a pay rise and respect,” he said.
“This is despite these workers providing important health and social services to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our society.”
SIPTU activist and community sector worker, Linda Scully, said that the Section 39 healthcare workers provide high-level care to their patients, similar to those who work in the public service.
“We are calling on the Government to come to the table and put in place a fair funding model that will address the pay and conditions of all workers in the sector,” she said.
“The workers provide the same standard of work as recognised by health colleagues in the public service.
“We require the same qualifications and provide care to the same standards as the public service.
“Why should we accept less when it comes to pay?” she said.
“Our members provide important roles in health settings in our communities across the country.
“We provide a key role ensuring that some of the most vulnerable members of our society are protected and supported. We’re not going to be invisible anymore.”
SIPTU Health Sector Organiser, Damian Ginley, echoed these sentiments, saying: “If the concerns of our members in the Section 39 organisations and the community sector continue to be ignored they will have no alternative but to commence a campaign of industrial action.
“To this end we will be balloting the members effected, in selected workplaces, in the coming weeks.”
Speaking last week, Labour TD and health spokesperson Duncan Smith said he supports the workers’ call for better pay and conditions.
“These workers were on the frontline during the pandemic whether that was by keeping our hospitals clean, providing at home supports or keeping disability services operational when they were needed most,” he said.
“They isolated from family to protect themselves and service users.
“They donned PPE and worked in congregated settings.
“These workers, like our cleaners, porters, nurses in hospitals, cannot continue to be forgotten about by the State,” he says.