SIPTU members employed by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) in shops run by the charity in Cork city and county have balloted for industrial action following a management attempt to force them from their jobs. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “In late 2016, management put forward a restructuring proposal concerning several shops operated by the St Teresa’s Conference section of the charity in Cork city and county. Initially, management refused to engage with SIPTU, which represents the workers affected by the restructuring plan. “Following an intervention by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), management did agree to enter negotiations with the union. SIPTU representatives attended three separate meetings with management. Following each meeting the union representatives presented proposals concerning the future of the shops that were accepted to be far more cost effective than anything management had produced. “The last set of proposals presented to management followed a meeting on 18th May. Management made no formal response to these proposals. Rather, in recent days, the SVP Regional President has written to each worker. His letters state that their current role is redundant and that their ‘employment will therefore cease by virtue of redundancy’.“Up to this point the Regional President had played no direct role in the restructuring process. The reality is that there is no need for redundancies. Indeed, it is clear that  SVP intends hiring more workers as part of its restructuring plan. It is the SIPTU position that the letters sent to workers amount to an attempt to bully them from their jobs. “SIPTU representatives have once again requested the intervention of the WRC in this dispute. Staff have also balloted for industrial action which will take place if management proceeds to make any individual compulsorily redundant or implement any of its restructuring plan without agreement.”