Management of The Donkey Sanctuary has refused to engage with SIPTU concerning attempts to make 16 welfare staff at the charity redundant in June. The UK charity, whose Irish operation is headquartered in Liscarroll, Mallow, Co. Cork, has failed to respond to a letter from the Labour Relations Commission requesting it engage in a conciliation process concerning the threatened job losses.SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “The union has tried unsuccessfully to engage the company in discussions as to the reasoning behind the decision to make the 16 welfare staff redundant. The company apparently is treating this as a restructuring of the organisation and is creating four new roles across the country to replace the 16 positions being made redundant.“We believe that the company is in no financial difficulty and is simply attempting to replace qualified animal welfare staff with voluntary workers.”He added: “The welfare staff that face losing their jobs are responsible for rescuing and caring for donkeys across the country. The workers also deliver talks to schools, clubs and other groups on the welfare of donkeys. The loss of these motivated staff would seriously impede the delivery of these services aimed at protecting animals which are often in extreme distress.”