Date Released: 12 November 2016
SIPTU has called on the Government to honour its commitment to engage with unions representing community workers or face the prospect of industrial action across the sector in the coming weeks.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “The many issues in the Community Sector were to be dealt with in a High Level Forum which would bring together unions and decision-makers. The establishment of such a High Level Forum for the Community Sector was agreed during the talks process which led to the Lansdowne Road Agreement in May 2015.
“However, this Forum has only met twice since then to deal with one issue that still remains unresolved. During this period our members in the Community Sector have faced the introduction of competitive tendering, job losses, redundancy without their full legal entitlements and a general attack on the effective operation of their organisations.”
“If the Government does not engage with these workers’ unions in the High Level Forum for the Community Sector in the coming days our members will be left with no option but to consider a ballot for industrial action.”
He added: “SIPTU members in the Community Sector provide crucial support to many people within our society including the elderly, people with disabilities, young people and vulnerable families. Work in the Sector is focused on areas such as providing childcare, combating poverty, supporting those with mental health issues, human rights advocacy and family support.
“It is completely unacceptable that workers providing such vital services to their communities now face losing their jobs without receiving their full legal entitlements from the very Government Departments which administrated and funded the programmes they delivered. If our members are eventually forced to take industrial action it will be highly disruptive but they will at all times seek to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected, as they do every day of their working lives.”
There are approximately 10,000 SIPTU members employed in Community Sector organisations throughout the country.