SIPTU members at the Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll, Mallow, county Cork, who have been told they will be made redundant on 31st May, are to ballot for industrial action. The decision to ballot follows the refusal of management to engage with their union or to attend a conciliation conference, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), to discuss the reasons for the redundancies, how the Sanctuary can operate with twelve less staff and the terms of the redundancy package. SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “The union has tried unsuccessfully to engage the company in discussions as to the reasoning behind the decision to make the welfare staff redundant. The company has refused a request from the LRC to intervene in this dispute. We understand that the company is in no financial difficulty so the reason for the redundancies is unclear. This company is also in receipt of €86,000 in State funding from the Department of Agriculture. “We also understand that there are a number of Tus Workers deployed at the Sanctuary base in Liscarroll. The Tus Programme is a labour activation programme that should not be used to displace workers”. “The staff that face losing their jobs are responsible for rescuing and caring for donkeys across the country. The workers also deliver talks to schools, clubs and other groups on the welfare of donkeys. The loss of these motivated staff would seriously impede the delivery of these services aimed at protecting animals that are often in extreme distress.” According to the Donkey Sanctuary, which claims to stand for ‘compassion, collaboration and creativity’, it is to continue to expand into forty countries by 2018.  “The Sanctuary management has clearly failed to meet its own standards in respect of its employees,” Eddie Mullins said.