SIPTU representatives have called on the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities to respect the right of its staff to union representation for the purposes of collective bargaining and to end attempts to unilaterally cut their terms of employment. SIPTU Organiser, Karen Smollen, said: “This organisation plays a vital role in providing a free and independent representative advocacy service to adults with disabilities across Ireland. However, the manner in which it is attempting to unilaterally impose cuts to the terms and conditions of employment of its staff, while refusing them the right to have trade union representation, runs directly counter to its supposed ethos.  “SIPTU representatives have written to the management of the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities seeking to meet with it in relation to attempts to unilaterally cut our members terms and conditions of employment. In response the organisation has, in writing, said that it is refusing to recognise the right of our members to be represented by their union for the purposes of collective bargaining.  “This refusal to engage with its workers’ union is all the more unacceptable when it is considered that the organisation is fully funded by the State through the Citizens Information Board. We have contacted the Citizens Information Board to ask it to assist in this matter but it said that it has no role to play in this issue as the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities is an independent registered charity with its own Board of Directors.” She added: “Something is seriously wrong when it is State policy to try and expand the number of workers who can avail of collective bargaining, in-line with a recent EU directive on this matter, but publicly funded bodies are denying their own staff that right. There are similar issues throughout the care and community sector and it is problem which needs addressed as a matter of urgency by the Government.”