Hundreds of community and care sector workers will be forced on to picket lines this week because of the complete failure of the Government to engage with them on their reasonable request for a first pay rise in 14 years, according to SIPTU Public Administration and Community Organiser, Adrian Kane. “From Wednesday to Friday this week, workers employed by community and care sector organisations will be taking to picket lines in Cork, Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Donegal”, Adrian Kane said. “These are workers who have dedicated themselves to caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens and assisting their local communities. These are workers who never thought they would be forced into taking industrial action to have some degree of respect shown for the crucial work they do. “The extent of their problems was clearly outlined last week when The Wheel, a representative body for many of these organisations, called for action in Budget 2023 to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in the sector which is directly impacting on services to vulnerable people.” He added: “Despite representations by bodies such as The Wheel and the trade union led ‘Valuing Care, Valuing Community’ campaign, the Government is continuing to ignore the demands of these workers. We have written to the Taoiseach requesting a meeting on this issue. His office then referred us on to the Tánaiste who in turn referred us to other Ministers. All have failed to accept that it is the Government which has ultimate responsibility for pay rates in these organisations because it funds them. “This pass the parcel approach by the Government must end. Workers in community and care organisations are saying ‘enough is enough’. They will be taking to the picket lines until they receive a fair pay rise so they and their families can attempt to cope with the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.” The organisations going on strike in Cork on Wednesday, 21st September, are the Irish Wheelchair Association, St. Joseph’s Foundation and EmployAbility. On Thursday, 22nd September, workers in Western Care in Mayo, Ability West in Galway and selected community employment schemes in Donegal will be striking. The final group of workers in this wave of action to go on strike will be in Enable Ireland in counties Cork and Kerry on Friday, 23rd September.