Welfare staff working for The Donkey Sanctuary have expressed disgust at their treatment by management following its failure to accept union representation at a meeting held today (Wednesday, 21st May) to discuss the ongoing dispute at the registered charity. Welfare Officer and SIPTU shop steward, Clem Ryan, said: “Management has steadfastly refused to accept the right of workers to be represented by their trade union. Throughout his dispute, which arose from a management decision to make 16 welfare staff redundant, workers have been treated in a deplorable manner by management.”He added: “Members of staff were particularly disgusted at the refusal of management to accept the presence of our union representative at the meeting today in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, Co. Cork. At the meeting management reiterated its position and refused to enter into any negotiations concerning the outstanding issues. The workers also felt that management displayed an unnecessarily belligerent attitude at the meeting.”SIPTU members began a series of two-hour strike actions at The Donkey Sanctuary on Monday (19th May). The actions are scheduled to continue every second day until Friday, 30th May. SIPTU 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. This organisation is in receipt of substantial funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and it is unacceptable that it is then unwilling to utilise the industrial relations mechanisms of the State." He added: “We believe that the company is in no financial difficulty and is simply attempting to replace qualified animal welfare staff with voluntary workers. Following the actions of management today, SIPTU members at the registered charity are now discussing an escalation of their industrial action.”