Cavan-Monaghan TDs Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin and Brendan Smith have signed a SIPTU petition calling on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, to “respect community sector workers and meet their union”. Over 1000 people have signed the petition in response to Minister Hogan’s refusal to meet with SIPTU members to discuss their concerns over plans to align Local Development Companies (LDCs) with Local Authorities. This alignment process will have major implications for jobs and services as well as removing control of services from local communities.The Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil TDs signed the petition following a meeting with local SIPTU and Impact trade union activists from the three LDCs in the Cavan-Monaghan constituency on Thursday, 22nd August. Fine Gael TD Joe O’Reilly also attended the meeting. “I’m very happy to see local TDs back the campaign and hope that the Minister will listen and engage in a proper manner with LDC workers and their union,” SIPTU community activist, Julie Clarke, said.Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said: “I very much welcome meeting with the LDC workers representatives. The engagement confirms my concerns at Minister Hogan's proposals for a so-called 'alignment' of the LDCs with the local authorities. I have written to Minister Hogan and will continue to press the Minister on this most important issue, urging him to personally meet with the trade unions as soon as possible.”Brendan Smith said: "I fully support the SIPTU Campaign to protect the interests of workers who are delivering programmes which are of vital importance for both urban and rural communities. It is absolutely wrong that the trade union representatives of the LDC workers have not been part of the process to date."SIPTU Sector Organiser, Shonagh Byrne, said: “This campaign will escalate in the coming weeks. We will be meeting TDs on a constituency-by-constituency basis and asking them to show their support by signing our petition. All that our members are asking for is the right to be represented by their union. It’s time for Minister Hogan to show respect to these workers and sit down and talk”.