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Latest Industrial Relations News

Pay restoration agreed for some Section 39 workers

05 October 2018

Several thousand workers in 50 HSE-funded health and social care bodies will get increases of up to €1,000 next April under a pay restoration proposal negotiated at the Workplace Relations Commission.

Many employees in so-called Section 39 bodies had their incomes reduced to varying degrees when public service pay was cut during the economic crisis between 2010 and 2013.

However, the Government and the Health Service Executive have failed to increase funding allocations to these bodies to permit restoration in line with Government employees currently benefiting from increases provided for in the current Public Service Stability Agreement.

A recent pilot review of 50 of the 300 Section 39 bodies found the average pay cut had been 4.66%, but highlighted a variation in terms of what pay cuts and/or restoration had or had not occurred.

The review calculated that full pay restoration for Section 39 workers would cost €68 million.

It is understood these latest proposals will cost the State €7.7m next year.

Yesterday's proposal brokered by WRC Director of Conciliation Services Anna Perry sets out timelines and a payment structure to provide restoration in the first instance for the 50 agencies in the pilot review.

The first phase - an annual salary increase of up to €1,000 - will take effect on 30 April 2019.

Under this provision, no individual will receive an increase that exceeds the loss that was previously imposed.

From 1 October 2020, affected Section 39 staff will get half of the outstanding restoration due.

A year later, on 1 October 2021, they will receive the remaining balance to attain full restoration - placing them back on the salaries they were on before the original cuts.

Claims for restoration will be subject to a verification and audit process within the HSE.

The ability of individual agencies to pay within their existing resources will also be reviewed.

As regards the remaining 250 Section 39 bodies who were not included in the initial pilot review but may have restoration issues, the parties will "commence engagement on this issue during 2019".

Ms Perry says that the parties agree that this proposal is the best that can be achieved at present.

She also notes the position of the Department of Health and the HSE that the pay restoration outlined in this agreement does not encompass future pay progression in Section 39 funded organisations.

However, she also notes that unions disagree with the management side's position on this, and have reserved the right to pursue this matter through the "appropriate industrial relations machinery".

She concludes by saying that all parties agree to recommend the WRC proposal for acceptance, but cautions that if either party rejects it, it will be withdrawn "without status".

It remains to be seen whether union members will accept the proposal, given the three-year timeline for full restoration, and the lack of any back money.

Read the full article here.