IMPACT members vote in favour of ‘twilight’ proposals

Padraig Mulligan, Assistant General Secretary, IMPACT.

IMPACT members in Galway and Roscommon have voted overwhelmingly in favour of proposals to resolve the dispute over unpaid premium pay.

The dispute concerned unpaid ‘twilight’ hours payments to 400 social care staff working in the Brothers of Charity and Ability West services in Galway and Roscommon. Staff had engaged in a work to rule on the issue in September.

In a ballot of members concluded last Friday (6th November), 91% voted to approve proposals which would see arrears payments, backdated over three years, paid to staff.

IMPACT had sought to secure the payment of the twilight premium (time and one sixth between 8pm and midnight) for social care workers and leaders in both employments since 2014, and had already been successful in securing payment from January 2015. However, arrears payments were still outstanding despite an acknowledgement by the HSE that the staff had a legal entitlement to them.

The industrial action was suspended following confirmation by the HSE that the Department of Health would seek €4 million to cover arrears payments, and a further €1m in the estimates and ongoing costs for 2016. The HSE said these funds are sufficient to cover the liabilities for employer organisations in Galway and Roscommon, in addition to employments in Cork, Limerick, Clare and Waterford where premium pay arrears are also outstanding.

IMPACT assistant general secretary Padraig Mulligan said the result has vindicated the stand taken by members on the issue. “They showed both courage and resolve in taking the industrial action, and our Invisible No More campaign also attracted widespread local support. These are dedicated staff providing a vital service to people with intellectual disabilities.

“Taking action was a difficult choice but they had been left with no other options. This marks the end of a long and difficult road for our members, but they were absolutely right to take a stand, and achieved their aims with minimal effect on service users,” he said.