SIPTU has called for the Government to begin a process of pay recovery for its members in the Health Sector and the ending of the restrictive FEMPI legislation. Responding to an address by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, to the SIPTU Health Division Biennial Conference, in Liberty Hall, this afternoon (Thursday, 16th October), SIPTU Health Division Organiser Paul Bell, said: “It is now clearly time for workers in the health sector to begin to share in the dividend that has been created by their work in reforming the provision of patient care and their perseverance over years of cost containment". Paul Bell welcomed the Minister’s praise for SIPTU members for assisting in laying a “sound foundation” for the Health Service. He added: “Our members will welcome the Minister’s clear recognition of the work that they deliver as health sector workers and the hardship they have endured due to the financial crisis. They will also be pleased that he indicated that he intends to tackle once and for all expenditure on agency staff in the health sector. Our members will concur with the Minister that this expenditure is an unnecessarily expensive and inefficient way to provide necessary health services. “The confirmation by the Minister of the ending of the moratorium on health sector recruitment is also welcome. This move, as the Minister accepts, has only been made possible due to the reforms that our members have successfully implemented. “The ‘emergency’ is now over and this must also mean the bringing to an end of the FEMPI legislation which provides unacceptable powers to government ministers to unilaterally vary terms and conditions of employment. “Our members now have an expectation that the ‘reform dividend’ referred to by the Minister will mark the beginning of the process of returning to them the earnings that they have lost in recent years. SIPTU looks forward to discussing this process with the Minister in the coming months”.