SIPTU members in several community organisations in county Waterford have begun a ballot for industrial action in a long running pay dispute which could result in a 24-hour work stoppage by workers providing vital services on Wednesday 6th July. SIPTU Organiser, Peter O’Brien, said: “Our members in the Irish Wheelchair Association and several local community employment schemes are part of the ballot for this initial stage of industrial action. These workers provide vital services for their clients and communities. The last thing they want is to be forced into taking industrial action. However, they have been left with no option due to the fact that most have not had a pay rise in more than a decade. They know this will result in a degree of hardship for those that depend on their services but believe that they have the support of their clients and communities in this fight.” The schemes in Waterford being balloted are Active People Community Group, Waterford CLG, Ballybeg CDP, Cappoquin Community Employment, Caring in Waterford, Childcare Development Project CLG, Compact Community CE Scheme, Tay Valley CLG, Waterford Centre for Independent Living, West Waterford Community Development and West Waterford GAA Clubs. O’Brien added: “This dispute is due to the failure of successive Governments to adequately fund the community sector and Section 39 organisations. This has resulted in our members being left way behind in terms of pay and conditions because of a break down in a previous link between their terms of employment with those of workers in the public sector. This is despite many of these workers carrying out roles which are directly comparable to those of public servants and vital to their local communities. “The current inflation rate and wider cost of living crisis is pushing many of these workers into the ranks of the working poor unable to afford basic necessities. Government action can easily resolve this dispute. It must move to establish a long promised collective bargaining forum for workers in this sector.”  The campaign of industrial action in these selected workplaces is part of the Valuing Community campaign for pay justice for workers in the community sector and Section 39 organisations which is supported by SIPTU, ICTU, Fórsa and the INMO.