SIPTU has called on the Government to provide additional income supports for the thousands of workers now laid-off due to the ongoing beef crisis. Up to 3000 SIPTU members and their families are directly affected by the ongoing crisis at the beef plants. SIPTU Organiser Terry Bryan, said: “We currently have thousands of workers laid off and this is causing massive hardship for their families across the country. These are families with bills to pay, children to feed and rent now due. Not all the workers who have been laid off will have automatic entitlement to Social Welfare payments because of the Work Permit System. “We are calling on the Government to develop a fund that will provide income support to these workers and we insist that the beef processors, as a group, should contribute to this fund to off-set the real hardship their employees are now facing”. SIPTU Organiser, Denis Gormalley, said: “The crisis in the meat industry, which has resulted in protests and disruption at processing the plants across the country, now threatens the jobs of up to 3,000 of our members. “Currently we have three thousand workers on temporary lay-off and there are ten thousand workers employed in the sector so the potential for this crisis to get a lot worse is very real. This not only affects the workers and their families directly, but also the local communities, small businesses and retailers.”