Unions to ballot St Aidan’s staff for industrial action

IMPACT assistant general secretary Shay Clinton
IMPACT assistant general secretary Shay Clinton

Decision to ballot follows employer’s failure to implement a Labour Court decision on increments

The INMO, PNA, IMPACT and Siptu trade unions will ballot staff at St Aidan’s Day Care Services in Gorey, Co Wexford, for industrial action to protest thecontinued non-payment of salary increments.

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), IMPACT and SIPTU are jointly balloting members on industrial action due to the non-payment of increments for the last number of years.

In January 2013, the Labour Court found that staff had an entitlement to increments. However, St Aidan’s management and the HSE have still not addressed the issue.

St Aidan’s provides services for people with a wide range of disabilities, children with special needs and for older people. They currently provide services for over 300 people in North Wexford including residential care, day services for the elderly and for adults with special needs, pre-school education for children with special needs, rehabilitative training and respite care in the community.

Staff have already taken a pay cut and have agreed to reduced sick pay entitlements. However, the non-payment of increments is a step too far and staff have now decided unanimously to proceed with a ballot on industrial action.

Due to funding difficulties over the last five years funding has reduced significantly and some staff have not been replaced. The existing staff have co-operated with the reconfiguration of services and have maintained services despite the funding difficulties. A recent HIQA inspection reported favourably on service provision within the Care Centre.

Shay Clinton of IMPACT said “Staff have demonstrated their determination to adapt to more straitened circumstances and have made huge efforts to ensure that the service is maintained. However, their contracted salaries have not being paid in full since 2009. That is why we have moved to ballot for industrial action.”

Dave Morris of SIPTU added ”Staff have been exceptionally patient in pursuing their legal entitlement to their contracted salaries. The Labour Court determined that the staff should be paid but that recommendation has not been implemented. The staff have been left with no alternative but to embark on a campaign of industrial action in order to achieve their agreed salaries. Staff will continue to have the care of the service users as their main priority during this period.”

Michael Hayes of PNA said “This has been a very difficult situation for those dedicated staff working in St Aidan’s. Unfortunately, all possible avenues have been explored without any resolution. Staff cannot be expected to continue working without proper pay, something that the Labour Court has agreed with. All that staff are seeking are the payments they are entitled to. It is very regrettable that such action is required to try to resolve an issue as clear cut as this one.”