SIPTU will hold an information meeting for Roscommon HSE home help workers on Thursday October 17 at 7.30pm in Hannon’s Hotel. The purpose of the meeting is to explain the recent Labour Court ruling which establishes a new floor of rights and protections within the workplace. The ruling follows an intensive campaign of protest, lobbying, and campaigning by SIPTU home help activists for the last year. There are over 200 HSE home help workers based in Roscommon, and the meetings are open to both members and non-members of SIPTU.
According to SIPTU organiser Pat Flannery, home help workers in Roscommon have played a key role in the union’s campaign to date. “Our members and supporters held public meetings with local councillors and TDs in Roscommon and also supported a successful protest in Tullamore last year to highlight cuts to the service. They have kept the pressure up ever since,” said Mr Flannery.
The Labour Court ruling establishes a new threshold of minimum hours for all home help workers - ending the previous policy of zero hour contracts. The ruling also prioritises the hours of HSE home helps ahead of hours being outsourced to private operators.
Responding to the ruling, Adeline Mee, a home help worker and SIPTU shop steward from Athlone, said “For the first time home helps are to be recognised as a workforce that fully belongs to the HSE. For home help workers, not knowing from one week to the next what our income was going to be was very stressful. We provide a valuable service to the community, taking care of clients in their own home where they want to be and it’s great that the Labour Court has recognised that value.”
Mr Flannery concluded: “Following a long and arduous journey, we are delighted that the campaign initiated by SIPTU home help members has delivered a Labour Court recommendation which finally puts them on an equal footing with all other HSE employees. This momentum will have to continue to ensure delivery of the gains achieved, and that’s why it’s so important that as many home helps as possible come along to this meeting.”