SIPTU and Fórsa have written today (Tuesday, 18th January) to the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, seeking a meeting with him to discuss the long running dispute over the future provision of Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “The Taoiseach now needs to intervene in this dispute in a manner which will provide for a positive outcome for the workers employed in these services and their client base. Such an intervention is needed due to the refusal of the Department of Social Protection to engage in an exploratory talks process as proposed by the Workplace Relations Commission.  “It is simply unacceptable that a government department would simply ignore the requests of the chief industrial relations dispute resolution body in the country. “The new private sector provider, Turas Nua, which has won the contract for providing employment services in counties Laois and Offaly has also refused to recognise SIPTU for collective bargaining purposes. This is despite the fact that the union has represented workers employed in these services in this area for more than 25 years.” He added: “Our worst fears over the privatisation of these services has unfortunately been realised. In addition to the Taoiseach we are seeking meetings with the leaders of all the parties in the Dáil to discuss this issue. “The entire political system needs to take responsibility for the transition from community to the for-profit provision of these services and the lack of effective legislation to protect collective bargaining rights in this country.”