The Wheel Calls for Urgent Resolution to Avert Strike Action

Posted on 29 Sep 2023
Three individuals, a man flanked by two women, stand outside the red brick facade of Buswell's Hotel in Dublin City centre. All three hold purple covered paper copied of a document with the title "A Budget for Civil Society" visibly printed on the front in large white sans serif font.

Thousands of people in our sector who provide essential health and community care are due to begin indefinite strike action within a matter of weeks. 

On 25 September, following the collapse of talks between the WRC and trade unions in late July, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions announced that Fórsa, SIPTU, and INMO had all received ballot returns from their membership showing “overwhelming support for industrial action, up to and including strikes.” As a result, an all-out strike has been called for 17 October. We are liaising with affected organisations, trade unions, and government representative to assist in bringing a swift resolution to this issue.

Because of inadequate statutory funding, community and voluntary service providers such as those listed above, as well as many others, are grappling with an ongoing and increasing pay gap of between 10% and 15%. This is resulting in a debilitating recruitment and retention crisis, which is in turn blocking thousands of children and adults from accessing critical mental health, disability, homelessness, and addiction services. Turnover and vacancies are increasingly forcing organisations to reduce hours and cancel services because they lack the staff to deliver them. The vulnerability of service users and the risk of burnout among existing staff have made this a matter of utmost concern.  

The Wheel has been campaigning for many years on the issues that lie at the heart of this dispute. Our recently published pre-Budget submission to government, A Budget for Civil Society, places front and centre the undeniable necessity for pay parity for those working in Section 39, 56, and 10 organisations. 

At our recent pre-Budget briefing, we heard from representatives from a range of organisations struggling to maintain their former levels of service, including CEOs from Coolmine Therapeutic Community and Mental Health Reform. The message communicated is clear: the provision of care and the maintenance of quality-of-life for tens of thousands of service users across the country should not be placed at risk.  

The organisations involved in the forthcoming action are: 

  • Ardeen Cheshire Ireland 
  • Ability West 
  • Cheshire Ireland 
  • Cheshire Dublin 
  • Cheshire Home Newcastle West 
  • Co-Action West Cork 
  • Cobh Hospital 
  • Daughters of Charity Child and Family Service 
  • DePaul Ireland 
  • Don Bosco Care 
  • Enable Ireland (nationwide, including Cork, Tralee, East Coast and Midwest regions) 
  • Family Resource Centres 
  • Irish Wheelchair Association 
  • Kerry Parents and Friends 
  • St. Catherines Association Ltd 
  • St. Joseph’s Foundation 
  • St. Lukes Nursing Home 
  • Western Care Association 

We urgently call on government to seize this opportunity to resolve this dispute so that those in the health and community sector can continue to do what it is they do best, caring for the most vulnerable of us in time of need.  

If you or your organisation are affected by the current series of events in any way, if you have concerns, questions, or comments, please do not hesitate to contact The Wheel.