Community employment supervisors strike over pension claims

Galway Daily news SIPTU members going on strike at LISK plant in Gort

Dozens of community employment supervisors took to the picket lines in Galway today as part of a nationwide strike over pension benefits.

A one-day strike was organised by Siptu and Forsa campaigning for these community employees to gain access to an occupational pension scheme.

Up to 500 supervisors took part in the strike at Intreo offices in Galway, Athlone, Cork, Letterkenny, Waterford and Dublin.

This morning, community employment supervisors in Galway gathered at the Intreo office on the Fairgreen road next to the coach station.

“It is an outrage that these workers do not have access to an employer sponsored occupational pension scheme,” said Patricia King, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

“The existence of such a scheme is one of the things that marks out decent employers from those who wish to exploit ordinary working people.”

“The fact that workers in these state sponsored schemes are denied this basic entitlement is not acceptable”.

Patricia King went on to say that “in many cases these workers are involved in the provisions of essential services that are relied upon by some of the most vulnerable communities in our society.”

The demonstrators are calling on the government to enact a Labour Court recommendation from 2008 which would have created an occupational pension scheme.

It’s estimated by SIPTU that roughly 50 supervisors of employment schemes retire each year, most without a pension.

The Department of Social Protection has said that the supervisors are not state employees, but work for groups which receive state funding.

SIPTU condemned this week a letter sent to organisations which they say is an attempt to intimidate workers.

According to SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins the letter asked organisations for the names of anyone taking part in the strike and said the groups’ funding would be reviewed “having regard to the industrial action taken”.

A spokesperson for Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said the minister had no intention of cutting any groups’ funding as a result of this strike.