Galway West Labour TD, Derek Nolan, has 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 (LDC) with Local Authorities. This alignment process will have major implications for jobs and services as well as removing control of services from local communities. On Friday (20th September) Derek Nolan attended a meeting of SIPTU members employed by Galway Rural Development Partnership and Galway City Partnership. He said: "The alignment process has created real uncertainty for workers about their future and the likely landscape of the community sector. I see no reason why the Department of the Environment, through the Minister’s office, should not include employees in their discussions. This happens in every other sector and should happen here. I was very happy to sign the petition calling on Minister Hogan to engage with SIPTU and will make the point to him personally in the Dáil."Galway Rural Development SIPTU Shop Steward, Miriam Stewart, said: "Local Development Companies have been working at the coal face of community and rural development for twenty years, delivering key services and projects at a local level. The wealth of experience built up over this time is immeasurable. Working with communities and responding at a local level ensures communities are active and respected indetermining and planning their future. Our approach empowers communities towork for themselves, through our delivery of key local programmes." SIPTU Organiser, Noreen Parker, said: “We welcome Deputy Nolan’s support for our campaign and the representations he intends to make to the Minister on our behalf. Although there was a meeting between Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government officials and workers’ representatives on Tuesday, 24th September, no commitment was given that there would be engagement with workers on issues of concern. All workers want is to have their voices heard.”