CoAction workers say they will go on strike again if necessary

March 5th, 2020 5:05 PM

By Brian Moore

Co Action workers on the picket line in Skibbereen last Friday. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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STAFF at the Co-Action centres across West Cork are prepared to strike again if their demand for pay restoration is not accepted.

However, with no government in place, staff member Philip Newton said that he and his colleagues were now waiting to hear from their union as to the progress, or otherwise, of the negotiations.

‘We didn’t want to go on strike,’ Philip said.

‘Not one of us wanted to go on strike, but we just didn’t have a choice. Other organisations have received pay restoration and it’s about time we did as well.’

Over 1,000 healthcare workers across the country, members of the SIPTU and Fórsa unions, stopped work last week in an effort to resolve a dispute over pay restoration.

In West Cork, the one-day strike forced the closure of Co-Action’s adult services.

Co-Action chief executive Gobnait Ní Chrualaoí said: ‘The strike affected us in so far as we had to close our adult services. We haven’t heard anything yet about more strike action coming in the future and we will only be able to plan for this eventuality when we get notified.’

Philip continued: ‘We don’t want to go on strike again. I’d much rather support the people that need us, we care an awful lot about the people we help and we don’t want to let them down.

‘We are all qualified and love our jobs and the people we support, but for me I would be better paid if I went to work at our local supermarket.’

Both unions have confirmed that no decision concerning further strike action has been taken as of yet.

Cllr Paul Hayes (SF), who joined the picket line in Clonakilty, said that he is shocked at the way the workers have been treated.

‘I’m appalled that these workers feel so frustrated that they’ve had to resort to strike action,’ Cllr Hayes said.

‘During the recent election campaign, I listened to carers, who provide a wonderful service to the most vulnerable in society, and all they’re asking for is fairness and reinstatement of what was taken from them after the last economic crash.’

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