Date Released: 07 October 2014
SIPTU members in the Kerry Women’s Refuge and Support Services, based in Tralee, Co. Kerry, have voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute concerning a unilateral change to workers' shift patterns.
The decision to ballot support staff at the facility for industrial action followed the refusal of management to constructively engage with SIPTU in regard to the changing of workers’ shift patterns.
The dispute concerns an attempt by management to unilaterally end a 12.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. shift. This move would result in an up to 50% reduction in work for out of hours support staff and severe consequential effects for other workers in the service.
SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Sharon Cregan, said: “On Wednesday, 1st October, SIPTU and management attended a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in an effort to resolve this dispute. However, due to management’s lack of meaningful engagement the talks were unsuccessful and management immediately confirmed its intention to continue with the implementation of its proposal without agreement.
“Furthermore, management have not fully disclosed the details of how they intend to provide security and support for service users after they implement the reduced rosters for the out of hour’s service. These developments are of grave concern to the SIPTU members employed in the centre”.
She added: “Our members are dedicated and committed in their work within the refuge. However, they now feel mistreated by their employer and this goes against the very ethos of the refuge itself.
“SIPTU members are saddened by the approach taken by the Board of Directors in their handling of the situation and believe that it has breached its own standards in respect of its employees. The SIPTU members will now discuss what form of industrial action they will take, with the best interests of service users to the fore at all times”.
Kerry Women’s Refuge operates as a not for profit organisation and is registered as a charity. It is run by a voluntary board of directors which employees one manager and seven staff. The facility provides services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.