People Before Profit expresses its full solidarity and support for Section 39 workers who have been forced to ballot for industrial action to win just pay claims.
Workers who are employed in agencies dealing with vulnerable people are earning 10% less than what the equivalent public sector employees earn.
Today a public sector healthcare assistant will start on a wage of €16 euros an hour.
This will eventually rise to €20 an hour, and these workers also enjoy decent union conditions with sick pay and proper pensions.
Section 39 workers employed by voluntary agencies deserve no less.
Industrial action is totally justified. In the long run it will help the service as a victory for workers will reduce the recruitment and retention crisis that currently exists.
For too long Ireland has operated a model whereby charities and voluntary agencies took on the job that the public sector should have been doing.
Section 39 workers should have parity with their public sector counterparts. But in the longer term a different funding model is required.
We need to move away from a neoliberal model which treats care of the vulnerable as the prerogative of voluntary and charity organisations.
Care work should be fully recognised and integrated into the public sector and workers should be paid properly with decent salaries and decent conditions.