Date Released: 04 November 2014
SIPTU members in the Kerry Women’s Refuge and Support Services, based in Tralee, Co. Kerry, will begin industrial action on Tuesday, 18th November, in a dispute concerning a unilateral change to workers' shift patterns.
The decision to commence industrial action at the facility follows a management decision to impose changes to workers’ shift patterns, without agreement, on Monday, 3rd November. This move will 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, Eddie Mullins, said: “On Monday (3rd November) unilateral changes to our members' shift patterns at the refuge were imposed. One of the support team workers at the facility offered a revised roster for consideration by management. This revised roster has the support of SIPTU members but was rejected out of hand by the general manager of the facility.
“Unfortunately, this left SIPTU members at the refuge with no option but to commence industrial action. A ballot had been conducted early last month where members voted to take industrial action if management attempted to force through roster changes without agreement.
“The industrial action will commence on 18th November with SIPTU members withdrawing their labour and mounting a picket at the main entrance to the refuge from 8.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. This action will be repeated each subsequent Tuesday until this dispute is resolved.
“From 8.30 a.m. on 18th November, SIPTU members will also not carry out any duties previously performed by Community Employment participants which include maintenance, childcare, housekeeping, laundry, reception, donations and opening the playroom. During the period of the dispute SIPTU members will also refuse to co-operate with any fundraising for the facility”.
Eddie Mullins 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”.
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 employs one manager and seven full-time staff. The facility provides services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.