Press Release

SIPTU calls on Revenue to end employment limbo for workers in St. Vincent's Centre, Cork

Date Released: 17 September 2019

SIPTU representatives have today (Tuesday, 17th September) called on the Office of the Revenue Commissioners to intervene in an effort to lift workers of St Vincent’s Centre in Cork city out of employment limbo.

SIPTU Industrial Organiser, Sharon Cregan, said: “It is unacceptable that loyal workers who provide such a vital community service should be left to remain in employment limbo while management sit on their hands. Our members also are being denied vital access to basic social welfare entitlements, such as dental and optical benefits. This injustice has been rumbling on since 2017. Staff were advised, on foot of HIQA recommendation that the service was to be de-registered and that the Health Service Executive (HSE) would assume responsibility of the centre pending the implementation of a different service provider.
 
“Over a year later, in September 2018, it was announced the COPE Foundation were proposed to take over the St. Vincent’s Centre and TUPE legislation would apply, protecting our members terms and conditions. Since then, no substantial progress has been made. Our members’ are now demanding that the Revenue Commissioners step in. We have the intolerable situation now where staff pension contributions are being deducted from the staff’s salaries continuously since March 2017 and in the possession of the HSE but at the same time being advised by the pension scheme administrator that their scheme is “closed off”.”
 
She added: “We were also advised that the HSE and the Sisters of Charity were to enter a mediation process and we have heard nothing since. It is our understanding that there is a case before the High Court in respect of defining the “actual employer” since the religious order stood down in March 2017. What makes matters more stressful for members is that the COPE Foundation cannot be ‘engaged’ as the employer until a definitive judgement is made.”
 
St Vincents, a Section 39 organisation, was previously governed by the Sisters of Charity. A proposal for the workers to be transferred to the COPE Foundation was put forward in the Autumn of 2018 following an interim arrangement with the HSE.


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