150 social care workers set to strike

Up to 150 social care workers in Co. Roscommon are set to go on strike after the breakdown of talks on their ongoing dispute with the Health Service Executive.

  They will meet in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon town, on Friday, August 28, to finalise their plans for industrial action.

  The Brothers of Charity employees are among 400 social care workers across counties Roscommon and Galway who are owed a total of €7.5 million in unpaid wages, the Impact Trade Union said.

  They said that, since 2004, they had been entitled to ‘twilight premium payments’ – time and a sixth for working between 6 pm and midnight – but had never received them.

  The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) were drafted in to mediate, but Impact, which represents the social care workers, said that these talks had failed.

  The union’s assistant general secretary, Padraig Mulligan, said: “The LRC came up with a proposal that meant the employees would get three years of the ten owed, and the HSE would pay them in the first two quarters of 2016.

  “But the HSE have refused to go ahead with that. That created a situation where industrial action is now inevitable.

  “The HSE have reneged on the LRC recommendations. Our members are absolutely incensed over it – that they would be treated with such contempt.”

  Mr Mulligan said that the union would now be seeking to get “every penny” of the money owed to them.

  He said that meetings would be held with the 250 Galway employees next Thursday, and the Roscommon members the following day, over the matter.

  A HSE spokesperson said that the executive agreed to begin making the payment for ‘unsocial hours’ on January 1 last, but that no agreement was made in relation to arrears.

  The spokesperson added: “Currently the issue of a backdated claim for arrears is being reviewed by the State’s industrial relations processes and the claim is currently before the Labour Relations Commission. 

  “The HSE cannot comment further whilst this process is underway.”