Irish Wheelchair Association Urges Government to Intervene Immediately and Prevent Indefinite Industrial Action Taking Place Next Week impacting thousands of people with disabilities.

Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) urgently calls upon the government to intervene to prevent an industrial action scheduled for next Tuesday, October 17th. Over 5,000 people with disabilities, many of whom are already marginalised and often without a voice, will be the ones to suffer at the hands of the government if action is not taken immediately.

Currently, IWA employees are earning €4.20 less per hour than their HSE counterparts who earn €20.02, for carrying out the same work. This wage disparity must be rectified and pay parity restored to ensure fairness and equality in remuneration. Industrial Action is now set to take place across Irish Wheelchair Association’s 59 locations, and 18 other Section 39 organisations, as their employees continue to fight for realignment of the pay rates with that of their counterparts in the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Irish Wheelchair Association emphasises that the government has a public sector duty to support and protect people with disabilities. As such, they are urging the Government to address their concerns today and take the necessary action to ensure the continuity of vital services for vulnerable individuals. The Industrial Action will affect all HSE-Funded Irish Wheelchair Association Services which cover Assisted Living Services, Community Centre Services, School Leavers (education) services and Respite Services.

Disturbingly, a recent report by the Irish Wheelchair Association reveals that 75% of their members fear their services being withdrawn next week. This disheartening reality highlights the urgent need for the Government’s intervention.

John Maher, a service user from Coolock, expressed his worry and anxiety, stating, “I don’t blame the staff because what they do isn’t valued or appreciated by the Government. The HSE and the Government need to understand just how dependent we are on this service.” Mr. Maher’s heartfelt words underline the profound impact this strike action could have on the day-to-day lives of individuals who rely on IWA services.

“IWA employees don’t want to strike, it’s going to be hugely disruptive and scary for a lot of our members.  Indefinite industrial action has been confirmed and we are working with the unions to secure the ability to deliver essential services which will be to a small number of our members. It’s time for the Government to put a stop to this and take action today as vulnerable people will continue to suffer,” says Michael Doyle, Acting Chief Operations Officer at Irish Wheelchair Association.

Pay Parity is one of the key issues IWA called for in its pre-budget submission and with under one week until the proposed strike action, the Irish Wheelchair Association emphasises that there has been no meaningful engagement with the Government to find a solution. Time is running out, and immediate action is required to avoid severe disruptions to essential services for people with disabilities.

IWA would like to thank it’s many members like, Emma Ward, who have been sharing their own stories across social media platforms and in the mainstream media.