Press Release

Community sector strike escalates following government failure to engage with unions

Date Released: 28 June 2022

SIPTU members employed in community organisations in county Waterford and county Galway have announced a 24 hour work stoppage on Wednesday, 6th July, as part of a wider campaign by workers in the sector seeking to secure their first pay rise in 14 years.

SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “At the weekend our members in the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) announced that they would conduct a countrywide work stoppage on 5th July as part of this long-running pay dispute. Unfortunately, following this announcement their has still been no engagement from the Government with the unions representing these workers. It is the Government which in the final instance controls the funding of these organisations and their ability to pay their workers fairly.

“Today, SIPTU members in numerous other community organisations have announced they will be joining their colleagues in the IWA in a co-ordained campaign of industrial action. The organisations involved in county Galway are Galway Rural Development, Galway Rape Crisis, EmployAbility, the Oranmore CE Scheme and the Claregalway/Annaghdown CE Scheme.

“In county Waterford the organisations involved are Active People Community Group, Ballybeg CDP, Cappoquin Community Employment, Caring in Waterford, Compact Community CE Scheme, Tay Valley CLG and West Waterford GAA Clubs.

“This situation is due to the failure of successive Governments to adequately fund the community sector and Section 39 organisations. This has resulted in our members being left way behind in terms of pay and conditions because of a break down in a previous link between their terms of employment with those of workers in the public sector. This is despite many of these workers carrying out roles which are directly comparable to those of public servants and vital to their local communities. 

“The worsening cost-of-living crisis means our members either face being forced into the ranks of the working poor or making a stand now. They have decided that for their own sakes and the future of the services they provide that taking action is the only option.”

He added: “The Government can easily resolve this dispute. It must move to establish a collective bargaining forum for this sector which will allow these workers to negotiation fair pay and conditions rather than being forced to beg for justice.”

Across the country, workers in other care and community organisations are also conducting ballots for industrial action as part of the Valuing Community campaign, which is supported by SIPTU, ICTU, Fórsa and the INMO.


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