Press Release

Unions call on Minister to reconvene Community Sector High Level Forum

Date Released: 01 November 2019

SIPTU and Fórsa have written to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, calling on him to convene a meeting of the Community Sector High Level Forum to discuss issues of importance within the sector including funding, pensions and policy.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “Union representatives wrote to the Minister in early October last. The letter highlighted the factually incorrect response he made to a question from Bríd Smith TD concerning the cost of honouring a Labour Court recommendation on the right of community employment scheme supervisors to a pension.
“In his Dáil response, the Minister claimed that the matter was the subject of extensive discussion at the Community Sector High Level Forum. This is not correct. Figures provided by department officials during the limited engagement with union representatives were proven to be completely inaccurate, although the Minister has continued to use them in replies to parliamentary questions. The High Level Forum, which includes representatives of government departments, statutory agencies and trade unions involved in the community sector, was due to convene quarterly to allow this and other issues to be properly considered but has not met since December 2017.
 
“Since December 2017, union representatives have been waiting to meet with the Minister, or his officials, to show how figures referred to by his Department in relation to the cost of honouring the Labour Court recommendation on the right of community employment scheme supervisors to a pension are completely inaccurate. There are also other issues that need to be urgently addressed. ”
 
He added: “In the letter, we call upon the Minister to meet with union representatives to discuss this situation and reconvene the Forum so it can carry out its essential functions in relation to the development of the community sector. To date, the Minister has failed.”


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