SIPTU has called on the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to respect a Labour Court recommendation, published on Thursday, 4th December, which states that policy makers should enter into talks with unions on the future of jobs in the community sector. The recommendation relates to the more than 1000 workers employed in Local Development Companies (LDC) across the country who are delivering the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and the LEADER rural development programme.SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “The Department is currently engaged in a drastic transformation of the community sector through a process of ‘alignment’ with local authorities and privatisation. Despite these policies having a major impact on workers, the Department has refused to engage in any meaningful discussions with their representitives”.SIPTU community sector activist, Donnie O’Leary, from Cork, said: “Every year, the programmes  which community workers deliver help thousands of people get back to work as well as assist in rebuilding local communities. The Department is making big decisions about the future for community workers but has frozen those directly affected out of the process. The Department needs to do the right thing and start negotiations with workers.”O’Leary added: “Community workers believe that the drive towards alignment and privatisation will result in job losses and a race to the bottom in employment standards. It will also undermine the community led approach that has been the cornerstone of success in the sector.”