An agreement which secures collective bargaining rights for 2000 workers in the Community Sector has been agreed between the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN), the representative body of Local Development Companies (LDCs), and trade unions. The agreement commits all parties to collective bargaining in relation to key issues such as future employment, job security and a fair process for redundancies should they arise. The agreement will apply across all LDCs, and involves over 2000 members of SIPTU and IMPACT trade unions who delivery local, community and rural development programmes in every county in the State.The agreement was finalised on Thursday, 24th April, following engagement with the Labour Relations Commission.The ILDN, SIPTU and IMPACT have also jointly called on the Department of the Environment and Local Government to meet with all stakeholders in order to address matters of major concern including Government plans to privatise the Local Community and Development Programme and the “alignment” of community organisations with local authorities.Last week the ILDN decided to withdraw from the Alignment Working Group established by the Government to oversee the “alignment” process.SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Darragh O’Connor, said: “There is now full agreement between employers and unions on the need for urgent engagement by the Department of Environment regarding future funding, job security and terms and conditions. The policies of privatisation and alignment will have a serious impact on the Community Sector in terms of both jobs and services.”Welcoming the collective bargaining agreement, SIPTU activist, Donie O’Leary, from the Cork City Partnership, added: “The ILDN decision to withdraw from the Alignment Working Group means that the plans of Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, for the community sector are now in complete disarray. The minister is isolated in his position of refusing to engage with all stakeholders. The only way forward is for his Department to sit down and talk to employers and unions.”