SIPTU members employed in the National Advocacy Service will return to the picket lines tomorrow (Monday, 8th July) following a failure by management to adhere to an agreement to honour a Labour Court recommendation on pay and conditions for the workers who provide vital services for people with disabilities.

SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, John King, said: “It is a failure by management, and its funding Government Department, to live up to a commitment that they would implement the Labour Court recommendation which has forced our members to resume this strike.

“The workers paused their industrial action on 12th June following a written commitment from management that the Labour Court recommendation would be honoured.

After several days of talks between SIPTU representatives, National Advocacy Service management, the Citizens Information Board and Department of Social Protection officials, the funders of the organisation, it became clear that the commitment to implement fully the necessary changes in pay and conditions was being reneged on.”

He added: “This situation is unacceptable and undermines the proper conduct of industrial relations.”

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan Carr, said: “We have had interventions by several members of the Government in the aircraft pilots’ dispute, with calls for both sides to honour the Labour Court and prevent disruption for holidaymakers. However, we await the Government honouring a Labour Court recommendation issued to one of its agencies and prevent disruption to vital services for people with disabilities.”

He added: “These workers have gone to the Labour Court, achieved a  recommendation and now face a body which is fully publicly funded and refusing to implement it.”

SIPTU Activist and National Advocacy Service staff member, Suzy Byrne, said: “I and my colleagues are appalled with the way we have been treated. We carry out vital and confidential work with some of those most at risk, providing in-person advocacy interventions in areas including housing, access to justice, health care, safeguarding and decision-making support.”

She added: “This work includes supporting people to attend meetings with state agencies, helping them in discussions and instructions in court cases and working closely with them to support decision-making in hospitals and long care settings. We are committed to the people we work with and our work. It is saddening that we have been left with no choice but to resume strike action.” 

As part of the strike action pickets will be placed outside National Advocacy Service offices in Dublin 7, Tallaght, Bray, County Wicklow, Athlone, County Westmeath, Tullamore, County Offaly, Limerick City, County Roscommon, Waterford City, Cork City, County Louth and Kilkenny.

The workers will also be protesting outside the Dáil on Tuesday (9th July) to directly call on the Government to work to resolve the dispute.