Dublin People

36 Weeks and no movement on Pandemic Recognition payment for thousands of healthcare workers

The National Joint Council of ICTU Health Sector Trade Unions  (INMO, SIPTU, Forsa, IMO, Unite, MLSA, and Connect union- working as one), say they have called on the Minister for Health to ‘urgently intervene’ in the non-payment of the Pandemic Recognition Payment.

This comes as non-HSE health staff (including nurses, health care assistants, cleaners, clerical workers, social care assistants, porters, security staff and many more) have yet to be paid the Pandemic Recognition Payment which was announced by Government on the 19th of January 2022.

These staff working as agency or contractors were central to the health service response to Covid 19.

Also, staff employed by Section 39 agencies, private nursing homes, Tusla, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service and others feel abandoned by the Dept of Health and the government.

Chairperson of the NJC Unions and INMO Director of Professional Services Tony Fitzpatrick said:

“Thousands of Irish people now know that they will be receiving payments to deal with the cost-of-living crisis in the months ahead, but healthcare workers are still none the wiser as to when they will be getting their long awaited Pandemic Recognition Payment.

“The Government announced what was supposed to be a goodwill gesture 36 weeks ago but have provided absolutely no mechanism to pay these workers who played a key role in the protection of the State in our hour of need.”

Fórsa Head of Health and Welfare, Ashley Connolly added:

“Despite many requests, Minister Donnelly and his officials have yet to meet unions to hear the concerns our members are putting to us daily.

“What was meant to be a payment to show respect to healthcare workers has proved to be the very opposite. At a time when budgets are stretched, many of our members, particularly those in Section 39 organisations, who have yet to see a pay increase this year, have factored this money into their household spending.

Siptu’s Health Divisional Organiser Kevin Figgis said:

“It is unacceptable to us as unions that thousands of healthcare workers, who showed up when the rest of us were told to stay home, are continued to be kept in the dark about the status of their Pandemic Recognition Payment.

“The Minister for Health and his officials must end their hands off approach to this issue and outline precisely how and when these workers who they were quick to call heroes will be paid what is due to them.”

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has today called on the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to urgently intervene over the non-payment of the pandemic recognition payment due to tens of thousands of health workers.

“36 weeks after it was announced to much fanfare by the Government, the fact that tens of thousands of healthcare workers are still waiting to receive a pandemic recognition payment is absolutely ludicrous,” Deputy Smith said.

“I believe it speaks to an abject failure of leadership, and is utterly disrespectful to thousands of health workers.

“This payment was the very least that the government could do, but even this simple payment has turned a good news story into a bad one.

“The payment should have been an opportunity to show workers that the Government recognised their sacrifices throughout the pandemic and value the contribution of those on the frontline. Instead, they have been left high and dry.

“Each and every one of these workers made enormous personal sacrifices and risked their health and their lives to keep us safe. There is no doubt that they went beyond the call of duty so to be treated like this leaves a very sour taste in the mouth.

“I have now written to the Minister for Health to express my major concerns and I have called on him to now intervene directly to ensure that the payment of the bonus to our frontline workers happens without any further delay.”

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