Talks on pay restoration for Section 39 employees have adjourned until 25 July.

SIPTU Health Division Organisor Paul Bell said this was to allow the Government side to consider how to make a 1% payment to affected Section 39 employees in October, in line with the next tranche of restoration due to public servants under the current Public Service Stability Agreement.

He described such a payment as a "confidence-building down-payment" but stressed it would still leave €1000 from April 2017, and a 1% rise from last January outstanding.

He said the Government's position on that confidence-building measure would influence SIPTU's approach to the industrial action threatened for 1 September.

The dispute centres on around 10,000 staff in so-called Section 39 bodies, including hospices and disability agencies, who are not technically public servants, but were in many cases subjected to the same austerity pay cuts as government employees.

However, many bodies say they are unable to restore pay in line with public servants because the HSE has failed to increase funding allocations to allow them to do so without cutting services to vulnerable clients.

The HSE in turn notes that it has not received exchequer funding to increase the HSE allocation.

It also stresses that the employees in question are not public servants, and are thus not automatically entitled to benefit from the terms of the latest public service pay agreement which underpins pay restoration across the public service. 

As a result, a worker in a Section 39 body doing exactly the same work as a public servant may still be on significantly lower pay.

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A strike was suspended earlier this year after the HSE agreed to carry out an audit of pay in Section 39 bodies.

That investigation found that Section 39 staff had their pay cut by an average of 4.66% from 2010 - but that some agencies had already begun the process of restoration.

Arriving for today's talks, Mr Bell said the HSE had found an established pay link between Section 39 workers and their counterparts in the HSE, and confirmed the process for employers to secure state funding to restore their members' pay.

He said today's talks at the Workplace Relations Commission will initially consider the HSE audit, and then how to address, fund and implement its findings.

He stressed that SIPTU would be demanding an agreed timeline for the commencement and conclusion of pay restoration for Section 39 workers, but their key demand would be that restoration must commence before the end of this year.

He warned that if those demands are not met, the staff will reactivate their previous strike threat from 1 September.  

A spokesperson for the Forsa trade union said that SIPTU is just one of a number of unions participating in the delegation coordinated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.