Fórsa members in the community and voluntary sectors are holding a protest in Galway this weekend over inadequate pay and funding.
The Fund Us Fairly, Pay Us Right protest rally will call for pay fairness for social care professionals working with disability and homelessness services in Galway’s community and voluntary organisations.
Galway-based social care worker Rachel said “My colleagues and I provide a valuable frontline service to a wide range of vulnerable people.”
“We are campaigning for better funding for our services because we are struggling to recruit talented social care professionals, people who could add real and lasting value to the services we provide.”
“We need proper funding, and that is the responsibility of the HSE and the Government,” she added.
The protest rally will take place in Millennium Park next to the Cathedral at 1pm this Saturday, August 27.
The rally will be addressed by Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) President Kevin Callinan.
Fórsa organiser Helen Cousins, works with social care professionals in the sector in Galway.
She explained that most of the funded organisations are struggling to recruit and retain care staff, as wages and conditions in the HSE, other state services and the private sector are more attractive to workers.
She said, “Saturday’s rally will be a family-friendly event, designed to boost awareness that services in health, disability and homeless services in Galway are under severe pressure”.
Helen said that workers can’t get a fair deal, because their employers simply don’t receive enough funding from the state.
“We have lots of members in the same professional roles in different employments, delivering the same services, who are on different rates of pay.”
“This is because those agencies funded by the HSE cannot deliver any pay improvements.”
“As a result, staff are moving on to where they can earn a better wage. These are degree qualified professionals, who are constantly upskilling.”
The effect of this, she added, is that voluntary and community organisations in areas such as disability services are unable to attract professional talent.
This leads to increased waiting lists at services which are already under pressure.
The only way to sustain disability and homelessness services, she added, is to achieve a level playing field with other sectors when it comes to pay and conditions.