SIPTU representatives have called on Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, to reverse a decision that Department of Social Protection officials will not attend proposed talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) concerning the Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs dispute. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “The decision by the Department of Social Protection to refuse to attend the exploratory talks proposed by the WRC concerning this dispute is a further indication of the scant regard Minister Humphreys has shown for workers employed in LES and Job Clubs.  “It is disappointing but not surprising behaviour from a Minister who appears to still be committed to a failed privatisation and marketisation model for the provision of these essential community services. It is an approach which has already produced an unsatisfactory outcome with the first round of tendering resulting in success for new for-profit providers who are already showing disregard for workers’ rights.  “One such provider, Turas Nua, is refusing to recognise SIPTU for collective bargaining purposes. The Taoiseach must now intervene in this situation as it is completely unacceptable that the Department of Social Protection is awarding contracts worth millions in taxpayer monies and state revenues to employers who are refusing to respect the fundamental rights of its workers.” He added: “If action is not taken on this issue the claims by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to social partner stakeholders in the Labour Employer Economic Forum, that they are committed to an extension of collective bargaining rights, will ring very hollow.”