Kelly: Section 39 workers deserve better

Photo © Tipp FM

Tipperary Labour Deputy Alan Kelly has demanded that the Government come to the table and hammer out a deal to meet the needs of health and community workers in the county.

Workers in the sector are to take indefinite strike action from Tuesday 17th October following ballots carried out by Fórsa, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and SIPTU.

The Portroe TD says steps will have to be taken in next month’s budget for Section 39 workers and other health and community workers who he says are being discriminated against in their pay, working conditions and the terms by which they work.

“They effectively are doing state roles. If they all packed it in essentially what would happen is the onus would be left on the state to provide these community supports and these health provisions for so many thousands and thousands of people across the state. Yet they are being paid a fraction of what they’re colleagues are being paid in the public arena.”

Alan Kelly says a strike by health and community workers would have dire consequences for an already overburdened health service.

He says many of these workers have not had a pay rise in over a decade.

Deputy Kelly says the issue needs to be tackled in next month’s budget.

“Otherwise what’s going to happen is there’s going to be multiple strikes from October 17th and this is going to put added pressure on our health service. These are brilliant people working in community settings, working in health settings across the country. Without them many of our loved ones would not be cared for.

“The government have let them down over many years – its now time to sort out this issue and ensure that their pay and terms & conditions are improved dramatically. It’s the least they deserve.”