Irish Wheelchair Centres Face Disruption Due To Strike

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Irish Wheelchair Association (Source: IWA Website)

Some Irish Wheelchair Care Centres are facing disruption today due to industrial action by members of SIPTU.

The workers are striking for 24 hours following the refusal of Government to discuss a pay increase.

Workers have not had a pay increase since 2008.

The IWA cannot give workers a pay raise without funding from Government but the Government say they have no role to play in resolving the dispute because they are not the direct employer – despite being the funder for the services provided.

Pre 2008 the pay rates for workers in the IWA were linked to public sector pay rates and SIPTU would also seek to restore this pay link.

Today there are pickets at IWA locations in Dublin, Galway, Westmeath, Leitrim, Kerry and Kildare. No disruption to services is expected in Tipperary.

The Irish Wheelchair Association has commented on the dispute with SIPTU members working for the organisation.

SIPTU members are staging a 24 hour stoppage in pursuit of a pay increase – pickets have been placed at 6 locations across the country.

The IWA says it fully understands and accepts the frustration of staff.

Staff at the IWA have had no pay increase in nearly 14 years. Pay restoration, to 2008 levels, was only agreed and funded by HSE in 2018.

As part of that settlement, after 2018, Irish Wheelchair Association staff were not deemed eligible to link with future public sector pay agreements.

IWA says it cannot fund a pay increase unless the HSE increases its financial support.

The Irish Wheelchair Association is the biggest provider of HSE-funded assisted living services for people with disabilities in Ireland and in one-to-one healthcare assistant supports, day services and holiday/ respite services.

The Association accepts that staff directly employed by HSE are now earning more than €3 per hour more for doing the same job which may led to retention and recruitment difficulties for organisations such as the IWA – known as “section 39 organisations” that are contracted and funded to supply services on behalf of the HSE.