6. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health if funds will be made available by his Department to help resolve the dispute involving section 39 workers in the health care sector whose historic link to their public service comparator in terms of pay and conditions other than pension conditions has been broken due to them not obtaining equivalent pay restorations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6088/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Industrial Disputes)

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Question No. 6 in the name of Deputy Mick Barry is grouped with Question No. 9 in the name of Deputy Broughan. The procedure is that double time is allocated when two questions are taken together. Deputy Barry will introduce the question, the Minister will reply and then the two Deputies can make their contributions, and if time permits Deputy O’Reilly would also like to make a short contribution.
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9. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health when additional funding will be provided to the HSE and section 39 organisations to enable them meet pay restoration commitments as per the Labour Court recommendation of 20 November 2017; the amount of funding to be provided; the timeframe for the provision of these additional funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2124/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Industrial Disputes)

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Question No. 6 in the name of Deputy Mick Barry is grouped with Question No. 9 in the name of Deputy Broughan. The procedure is that double time is allocated when two questions are taken together. Deputy Barry will introduce the question, the Minister will reply and then the two Deputies can make their contributions, and if time permits Deputy O’Reilly would also like to make a short contribution.
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49. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health if funds will be made available to help resolve the dispute involving section 39 workers in the health care sector (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2164/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 49, 60, 61, 74 and 243 together.
Under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, the HSE provides financial assistance to organisations by means of a grant. Section 39 legally underpins the provision of services similar or supplementary to a service that the HSE may provide. In 2017, the HSE provided funding of approximately €800 million to over 2,200 of these agencies. The funding provided can range from high value, in thei...

60. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure that section 39 workers are treated fairly in the restoration of pay cuts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2336/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 49, 60, 61, 74 and 243 together.
Under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, the HSE provides financial assistance to organisations by means of a grant. Section 39 legally underpins the provision of services similar or supplementary to a service that the HSE may provide. In 2017, the HSE provided funding of approximately €800 million to over 2,200 of these agencies. The funding provided can range from high value, in thei...

61. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if he will be involved in discussions with a union (details supplied) and section 39 organisations within the health system; if not, if this will be exclusively for the HSE; the mechanisms within his Department if it requires further funds to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53589/17 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 49, 60, 61, 74 and 243 together.
Under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, the HSE provides financial assistance to organisations by means of a grant. Section 39 legally underpins the provision of services similar or supplementary to a service that the HSE may provide. In 2017, the HSE provided funding of approximately €800 million to over 2,200 of these agencies. The funding provided can range from high value, in thei...

74. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health his views on the scheduled day of strike action due to be taken by a union (details supplied) in section 39 organisations on 14 February 2018; the measures he plans to take in order to settle the dispute; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6089/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 49, 60, 61, 74 and 243 together.
Under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, the HSE provides financial assistance to organisations by means of a grant. Section 39 legally underpins the provision of services similar or supplementary to a service that the HSE may provide. In 2017, the HSE provided funding of approximately €800 million to over 2,200 of these agencies. The funding provided can range from high value, in thei...

243. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health the status of the process of engagement between section 39 organisations and the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6655/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 49, 60, 61, 74 and 243 together.
Under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, the HSE provides financial assistance to organisations by means of a grant. Section 39 legally underpins the provision of services similar or supplementary to a service that the HSE may provide. In 2017, the HSE provided funding of approximately €800 million to over 2,200 of these agencies. The funding provided can range from high value, in thei...

36. Deputy Louise O’Reilly asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the possibility of a strike by workers in section 39 agencies; the steps that he has taken to address the underlying issues which may lead to a strike; his plans to unwind the FEMPI cuts imposed on section 39 agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48113/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 and 83 together.
I am advised that notice of industrial action has not been served on any Section 39 employer. In any event, as the HSE is not the employer, the Executive would not have a direct role in any such industrial action. I understand that a number of Section 39 agencies have been before the Workplace Relations Commission and some have or are currently in the process of going to the Labour Court. The HSE i...

83. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the action he will take to alleviate the difficulties being experienced by section 39 organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48185/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 and 83 together.
I am advised that notice of industrial action has not been served on any Section 39 employer. In any event, as the HSE is not the employer, the Executive would not have a direct role in any such industrial action. I understand that a number of Section 39 agencies have been before the Workplace Relations Commission and some have or are currently in the process of going to the Labour Court. The HSE i...

45. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the unfolding dispute between crane operators and construction employers. (Question 30409/17 asked on 29 Jun 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am aware of the dispute that is currently underway involving crane drivers on construction sites in Dublin.
I am also aware that there are a number of complex issues involved in this particular dispute. I understand that the CIF and SIPTU had reached an agreement. I further understand that Unite the union has lodged a pay claim for its members. I understand Unite served notice of industrial action on Mond...

731. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will appoint a respected intermediary to bring the parties involved in the Bus Éireann dispute together for mediation and suspension of the current industrial action; the measures he is taking to assist in bringing about a just solution for the 2,600 workers involved and for an agreement to end the strike action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17521/17 asked on 11 Apr 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 731 and 735 together.
I am of course disappointed that an  intensive series of WRC discussions have ended today without agreement on the Bus Eireann dispute. I am aware that issues have now  been referred to the Labour Court and both sides will now engage with the Court as it seeks to resolve the outstanding issues. I hope we will see an acceptable and fair deal emerge and that the disruption to peo...

735. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will meet with Bus Éireann staff in counties Cavan and Monaghan regarding the resolution of the ongoing strike; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17560/17 asked on 11 Apr 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 731 and 735 together.
I am of course disappointed that an  intensive series of WRC discussions have ended today without agreement on the Bus Eireann dispute. I am aware that issues have now  been referred to the Labour Court and both sides will now engage with the Court as it seeks to resolve the outstanding issues. I hope we will see an acceptable and fair deal emerge and that the disruption to peo...

314. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will intervene in the current industrial relations dispute which has seen Bus Éireann services withdrawn across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17316/17 asked on 06 Apr 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I welcome the decision by both management and unions to accept the invitation of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to recommence discussions. As I have repeatedly stated, the appropriate forum for resolution of this dispute is the WRC, assisted if required by the Labour Court, and I hope that both parties can use this opportunity to agree upon an acceptable and fair deal. The Deputy is aware that I have consistently stated t...

321. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if holders of annual bus tickets with Bus Éireann will have their payments refunded for the days for which there has been no services available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16959/17 asked on 05 Apr 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The Company’s website has information regarding refunds due to industrial action under its “Customer Services / Bus Éireann FAQ” section. ​ 
As the issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann and I have also forwarded the Deputy’s question to the Company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.
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322. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he has taken to date to assist in the resolution of the strike at Bus Éireann and to address workers’ concerns. (Question 16969/17 asked on 05 Apr 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I have consistently stated that I will not dictate to management and unions about their internal issues and nor will I become involved in discussions about how the Company organises itself in terms of its work practices etc. These are issues which require agreement between management and unions.
However, in those areas where I believe it to be appropriate to act, I have acted. 
- I have increased the amount of money available to fu...

631. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding persons who have purchased tax-saver commuting tickets who have had to pay for private or alternative transport to work during the Bus Éireann strike; if there is a procedure in place to claim back expenses incurred during the dispute; and if there is a procedure in order to claim back moneys paid on the tax saver scheme in view of the transport that was not available during disputes. (Question 16061/17 asked on 04 Apr 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): ​The issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the Company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.
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38. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the collapse of the talks between management and unions at Bus Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14256/17 asked on 22 Mar 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to answer Questions Nos. 38 and 89 together.
First of all I want to be very clear that the issues currently arising within Bus Éireann stem from their commercial Expressway routes and are not related to taxpayer funding.
The vast majority of Bus Éireann routes and passengers relate to its PSO business and are funded by the taxpayer. In Budget 2017 I secured an 11% increase in the amount of funding available for public tran...

41. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures he has taken to resolve the Bus Éireann dispute; the number of times and when he has met Bus Éireann management; the number of times and when he has met the trade unions involved since 1 January 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14238/17 asked on 22 Mar 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): ​In recent months I have taken action on a number of fronts in order to address issues raised by stakeholders in Bus Éireann.
I have increased the amount of Public Service Obligation (PSO) funding so that in 2017 almost €263million will be provided to the NTA to allocate to public transport operators. That figure represents an 11% increase on 2016 and I have publicly committed toward further increasing the level of PSO funding in co...

89. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether the talks between management and unions at Bus Éireann were destined to end without agreement due to the parameters of their discussion being constrained by the level of subsidy provided by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14257/17 asked on 22 Mar 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to answer Questions Nos. 38 and 89 together.
First of all I want to be very clear that the issues currently arising within Bus Éireann stem from their commercial Expressway routes and are not related to taxpayer funding.
The vast majority of Bus Éireann routes and passengers relate to its PSO business and are funded by the taxpayer. In Budget 2017 I secured an 11% increase in the amount of funding available for public tran...

87. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health his views on industrial action by nurses and the pay and conditions faced by nurses in public hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12060/17 asked on 08 Mar 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I am pleased that the INMO and SIPTU reached an understanding on nursing recruitment and retention issues by engaging with management through the State’s industrial relations mechanisms and welcome the deferral of the threatened industrial action by the INMO that was scheduled to commence on the 7th March. I am pleased that the INMO will be recommending that their membership accept the proposals developed with the assistance of the Workplace Relations ...

641. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Health if his Department will support a settlement with nurses and other health care workers who are due to take industrial action on 7 March 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10625/17 asked on 07 Mar 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I am pleased to confirm that industrial action by support staff grades scheduled for today (7th March) was averted following an agreement reached between SIPTU and the HSE on 24th February, with the support of my Department.
I can also confirm that the INMO Executive Council decided on Saturday 4th March to ballot all members on expanded proposals which emerged following extensive engagement with officials from the HSE, my Department and the Department ...

368. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the nature of any contact she has had with a company (details supplied) and the Mandate trade union regarding industrial action involving pre-1996 worker contracts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10937/17 asked on 02 Mar 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor): As we are all aware the issue relates to Tesco workers on legacy contracts (pre 1996). I understand that over a year ago that there were over 1000 such workers in Tesco on these legacy contracts. I further understand that Tesco offered a redundancy package as part of the process in place to resolve the dispute with workers on these legacy contracts and the number of employees now remaining on these contracts is repor...

211. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the fact that a number of schools will not meet the minimum of 167 teaching days in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8503/17 asked on 21 Feb 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Under Department Circulars, the minimum number of teaching days per school year will be 167.  This is a minimum figure which must be adhered to by all schools (and all classes within a school).
I am aware that the ASTI’s continuing action in withdrawing from the Croke Park hours is causing disruption to schools and parents. I am concerned about any loss of tuition time for students due to the ASTI’s action.
The 33 Croke Park hours per y...

413. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Health the contingency plans in place to deal with the upcoming industrial action being taken by nurses and by support staff across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8179/17 asked on 21 Feb 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 413 and 477 together.
The INMO sent a notice of industrial action to the HSE on 13th February 2017 in which it advised that a work to rule would commence on the start of the day shift on Tuesday 7th March 2017 when all INMO members would work to contract. It confirmed that all duties would be undertaken as normal however requests to redeploy, or stay on for additional periods, would not be agreed by INMO members during ...

477. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the steps his Department is taking regarding the impending nursing strike; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8583/17 asked on 21 Feb 2017 - Industrial Disputes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 413 and 477 together.
The INMO sent a notice of industrial action to the HSE on 13th February 2017 in which it advised that a work to rule would commence on the start of the day shift on Tuesday 7th March 2017 when all INMO members would work to contract. It confirmed that all duties would be undertaken as normal however requests to redeploy, or stay on for additional periods, would not be agreed by INMO members during ...