SIPTU members employed in Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs in Galway met with the Labour Party leader, Alan Kelly, and Labour Galway County Councillor, Níall Mc Nelis, on Friday (10th September), to discuss the threatened privatisation of the vital community resource. Alan Kelly said: “I understand only too well this situation as my own sister works in a Job Club in county Kerry. This attempt at the privatisation of these services needs to be fought in every town and county because if it happens these services will lose their true value, which is to support and mentor vulnerable people back into the workplace. I will be raising this issue in the Dáil on my return and offer my full support to LES, Job Clubs and all the other valuable community sector workers.” Cllr McNelis said: “I will be working very hard over the next few weeks to ensure that LES and Job Clubs remain a valuable not for profit public service.” Galway LES manager, Samantha O’Toole, said: “We are calling on the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, to meet with us. She needs to look in much greater detail at the needs of the long-term unemployed and meet with all stakeholders to discuss the future of services aimed at bringing them back into the workforce.” SIPTU Organiser, Clement Shevlin, said: “This summer, SIPTU and Fórsa launched the ‘Our Community is Not for Sale’ campaign to oppose the privatisation of these community services. The campaign has received widespread support that clearly indicates that clients and the general public do not support the privatisation of these services.” Earlier this year, the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, began a tendering process for the provision of LES and Job Clubs which, if allowed to proceed, will result in the full transition of these services to ‘for profit’ providers.  The ‘Our Community is Not for Sale’ campaign is demanding the retention of LES and Jobs Clubs in their present form.