10,000 community workers threaten industrial action

The workers are focused on areas like childcare, combating poverty, mental health issues, human rights advocacy and family support

union, SIPTU, HSE, crisis, mental, health

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Around 10,000 workers in the Irish community sector providing support to the elderly, people with disabilities and vulnerable families are threatening to take industrial action.

A statement from the Services, Industrial, Professional & Technical Trade Union (SIPTU) said the government needs to engage with unions representing the workers or “face the prospect of industrial action across the sector in the coming weeks.”

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins said the government had committed to the establishment of a High Level Forum to deal with issues facing Community Sector during the process leading to the Lansdowne Road Agreement in May 2015.

He said the forum has only met twice in the period since.

“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 organizations,” he said.

“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 administered and funded the programmes they delivered.”

He said if the government does not engage with union representatives “in the coming days,” members will be “left with no option but to consider a ballot for industrial action:”

According to the SIPTU statement, work in the Sector is focused on areas like “providing childcare, combating poverty, supporting those with mental health issues, human rights advocacy and family support.”

“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,” said Mr Mullins.