SIPTU members in the care and community sector have committed to escalating their campaign of industrial action following a successful first wave of strikes this week which saw hundreds of workers join picket lines and attend protests across the country. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “Many care and community sector workers have not had a pay rise in 14 years. They are struggling to make ends meet in the face of a worsening cost of living crisis while also seeking to maintain services for some of our most vulnerable citizens.  “This week they said enough is enough. They began a campaign of industrial action that will not end until they are shown the respect they deserve by a government which is attempting to just ignore their just demands. “Their demands are simple and the Government must engage with their unions and provide the organisations that employ them with funding so they can have a pay rise. Without this not only do they suffer but the very existence of the services they provide is under threat due to workers leaving the sector and an inability to recruit new staff. “Today, as the protests were taking place in Dublin, Galway and Waterford, I raised these issues with a cross party group of TDs in Leinster House at a meeting concerning the impact of the community sector funding crisis on Rural Social Scheme and Tús  projects. All political parties now clearly understand the demands of our care and community sector members.” He added: “On the two days of industrial action, our members were overwhelmed by the support they received from workers and the wider public. There was universal appreciation for their stand.  “The morale of our members in the care and community sector has been greatly boosted by this support and the backing they received from politicians, in particular the Labour Party and People Before Profit TDs who visited their picket lines and, along with their colleagues in Sinn Féin, raised their fight for pay justice in the Oireachtas. “These workers have been forced to take action in their own interests and of those who depend on their services. If the Government continues to refuse to engage with their unions the Valuing Community campaign will move to widen and intensify industrial action later this summer and into the Autumn. These workers will neither stay silent nor beg for justice any longer.”  Protests were held in Dublin, Waterford and Galway today (Wednesday, 6th July) by striking care and community sector workers as part of the Valuing Community campaign which is supported by the ICTU, SIPTU, Fórsa and the INMO.