IMPACT claims the redundancies are unnecessary
Staff who provide representation and advice to childcare providers are beginning an indefinite strike over what they claim are “bizarre and bogus” redundancy threats.
The union for the Childminding Ireland group, IMPACT, say the dispute will continue until management withdraws compulsory redundancy notices served to five staff members - and enters “meaningful talks over proposed restructuring plans”.
IMPACT claims the redundancies are unnecessary in the organisation, which it says is not experiencing financial difficulties and has produced no business case to justify the job losses.
In a statement, the union say it believes Childminding Ireland is “illegally threatening redundancies to force administrative and specialist staff out of their jobs before replacing them with others”.
IMPACT has also accused the State-funded body of refusing to engage seriously in a conciliation organised by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), prompting five of the six staff at the organisation to back industrial action.
IMPACT official Stella Griffin said management had issued five staff members with individual redundancy notices, with notice periods ranging from a month to almost a year.
“This is a bizarre and bogus redundancy threat in which a State-funded employer simply wants to get rid of its staff and replace them with others”, she said.
“Childminding Ireland has had plenty of opportunities to explain why it thinks restructuring and redundancies are necessary, and it has consistently failed to do so. It is clear that no business case has been put forward because no business case exists”.
Ms Griffin also says she has seen internal correspondence, between board members, which she says “demonstrates beyond doubt” that Childminding Ireland has no intention of engaging meaningfully with its workers or their representatives.
Although management say the staff will be able to apply for new roles in a restructured organisation, the union believes the new roles are being constructed to exclude them.
“Childminding Ireland is a representative body, not a childcare provider. Yet it has indicated that it will insist that administrative, communications and accounts staff have childcare qualifications”.
“There is no objective reason for this. The real rational is simply to get rid of the well-qualified and loyal staff they currently have,” Ms Griffin added.
IMPACT says it remains available to resolve the issue through negotiations in the WRC.
In response, Childminding Ireland says: "Despite a four month consultation period, notice of strike action by three members of staff from Tuesday 7th June has been issued".
"While it is hoped that even at this late stage strike action may be averted, Childminding Ireland wishes to assure its members that if the strike does go ahead, Childminding Ireland will continue to be there for its members".
"Staff not involved in the industrial action will continue to work as usual", it adds.