SIPTU West Cork District Committee has called on Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, to meet with community sector workers to discuss proposed major changes to the provision of community development schemes. “The Minister appears to have his mind set on the alignment of local government and local development schemes. This is in spite of all the available evidence indicating that Local Development Companies (LCD) have delivered a viable cost effective product since the Leader rural development programme was launched in 1991,” said SIPTU West Cork District Committee chairman, Pat O’Flynn.“The fact is that the programme that has been delivered by Local Development Companies, is the envy of the other European Union States, yet this Minister intends to dismantle what is proven to work.”SIPTU West Cork District Committee Secretary, Eddie Mullins, said: “The Minister set up a steering group in September 2011 to explore the proposed alignment. It is astonishing that there was no involvement from the LDCs and Partnership Companies on that steering group, even though these were the very people who were tasked with delivering local development programmes for the last two decades“The Minister has established an Alignment Implementation Group to oversee the alignment process, yet there is no place for workers or employee representatives on this group. Phil Hogan has also stated in the Dáil that his proposed changes will result in job losses yet he will not engage with the workers who are going to be affected.”He added: “It is in this context that the SIPTU West Cork District Committee has called on the Minister to engage immediately with the unions who represent the workers in the various Local Development Companies.”The SIPTU Community Sector has launched a petition calling on Phil Hogan, to meet with the representatives of workers who will be affected by his plans to “align” Local Development Companies (LDC) with Local Authorities. The petition is entitled “Minister Phil Hogan respect community sector workers and meet their union”; it can be viewed at