IMPACT trade union has welcomed the announcement this afternoon (Tuesday 14th October) that there are to be no further reductions to public service numbers. The union has also welcomed news that new posts are to be created for special needs assistants (SNAs), community and mental health staff and in the civil service.
The union, which represents almost 60,000 public service workers in health, local government, education and civil service, said that this marks the end of a lengthy moratorium which has seen remaining staff put under enormous pressure to maintain services.
IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said, “The news that public service numbers face no further cuts is welcome. That there is to be recruitment in some areas will be especially welcome news to hard pressed staff who have faced the challenge of increased demands on the services they work in. This has built up every year since the moratorium was applied and as numbers continued to fall. The announcement of new posts today marks an end to that phase, and hopefully the beginning of a new phase of recruitment which will be vital to the sustainability of services across the public sector.”
Fragmentation of SNA posts
IMPACT’s deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan said that while the additional 365 SNA posts were welcome, he hoped that the increase in numbers would help guard against a growing trend for the fragmentation of existing posts, with many SNAs losing out as their posts are reduced down to just a few hours a week. “The creation of 365 additional posts, alongside increases in the number of teachers, is good news for children entering education next year, and will be welome news to their parents.
“While these new posts are a great addition to the service, individual SNAs have really suffered in the last couple of years as their posts are broken down into, in some cases, just a few hours a week. That’s not a good development for children who rely on the service, and it has made it impossible for many SNAs to make any kind of living from their work. I hope that the additional posts announced today can contribute to reversing this type of harmful work pattern” he said.
Resources for social housing and homeless services
IMPACT represents workers in homeless services and welcomed the additional resources allocated to homeless services and social housing investment announced in the budget. The union has campaigned throughout 2014 to protect homeless services budgets.
Mr Callinan said “These additional resources will help those service organisations and local authorities to continue to deliver vital services as the homeless crisis continues to hold so many vulnerable people in its grip. The additional investment into social housing is essential now in order to get more people into housing, and we hope to see the pressure on homeless services eventually reduced as a result” he said.