Social care workers prepared to strike over €7.8m back pay
Social care workers who are owed €7.8m in back-pay by the HSE are considering an all-out strike after failing to reach any agreement with the health authority.
The 400 Brothers of Charity and Ability West staff, who are based in Galway and Roscommon have been involved in protracted talks with the HSE through the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).
The workers claim they are owed back-dated 'twilight' payments going back a decade to 2004. It amounts to €7.8m.
However, despite workers accepting two recommendations from the LRC, a commitment to provide the monies has still not been provided.
The latest recommendation accepted by staff last month would have seen workers' backpay reduced from 10 years to three, with the new amount paid out in two tranches next year.
Padraig Mulligan, Assistant General Secretary of IMPACT, said he received confirmation this week that the HSE now wanted to bring the matter to the Department of Health.
He said workers had now been left with no option but industrial action.
"Everyone accepts that the money is owed but we have still made no headway. We've acted in good faith at all times and accepted the LRC undertaking but the HSE has failed to follow through at any stage." he said.
Mr Mulligan said staff were "seething with anger" that the latest recommendation was not being implemented.
"There is no way out of industrial action now. We'll be meeting staff to discuss what this will entail. People are so angry with how they have been treated, the workers have done everything they can to avoid taking this action but it seems the only thing the HSE understands is industrial action," he said.
Mr Mulligan said he believed the workers could opt for full strike action.
"That is on the cards because of the sense of anger out there. This is not going to be minor, we are looking at effective, serious industrial action," he added.
A spokesperson for the HSE said it had agreed to pay the monies going forward but added: "No agreement was made in relation to arrears."