Sun, 10 Dec 2023

DUBLIN, Ireland: A strike has been set for thousands of Ireland's healthcare and community workers beginning October 17th.

In a statement, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) said the strike is being authorized due to the Government's "failure" to resolve funding and recruitment issues.

After the breakdown of negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission in July, a vote to authorize the strike took place.

Unions, including Forsa, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization (INMO) and Siptu, held votes, with all three unions reporting high levels of members voting and "overwhelming" support for strike action.

The actions means that 18 categories of workers will strike. These include the Irish Wheelchair Association and Enable Ireland.

Meanwhile, ICTU general secretary Owen Reidy has noted that his members make less money than those employees performing the same task, who are employed by the government Health Service Executive.

"Before the economic crash in 2008, virtually all of these workers had a link with the public service, because they essentially carry out a public service or their organizations are publicly funded. When the economic crash took place, these workers suffered the big cuts like everybody else. But when it came to restoring that and when it came to catching up, we are way, way behind. These workers are, on average, about in excess of 10 per cent behind their peers in the public sector," he said, as quoted by RTE.

However, Reidy said, unions would return to negotiations with the Workplace Relations Commission. "At the end of the day, if these services fall apart, they will because people are leaving them.there's a recruitment and retention crisis. The State is legally obliged to fill the gap. We're saying be proactive, you have the money, sit down with the unions and negotiate."

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