Community sector workers in Galway are engaging in a one day strike today in response to a pay dispute in Galway.
SIPTU members in the community sector in Galway and multiple other counties, are striking to seek their first pay rise in 14 years.
This follows on from a strike by employees of the Irish Wheelchair Association on Tuesday, where they picketed in Galway, Clare, and Kerry.
SIPTU Organiser, Clem Shevlin highlighted the case of Galway Rape Crisis Centre, which suffered wage cuts in line with other Section 39 organisations in 2008, but was later placed under the remit of Tusla.
This changed the legislation its funding was governed under, meaning it was no longer considered part of the Section 39 category.
“This change in funding stream did not change the workers’ roles but did mean they did not receive pay restoration in line with their colleagues in Section 39 organisations in recent years,” Clem Shevlin said.
“SIPTU representatives have raised this anomaly with the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, and other politicians but there has been no action to resolve the issue.”
He added that, “Our members in the GRCC provide vital services to vulnerable people in crisis.”
“They are completely committed to their work and clients but feel they have no option other taking a stand to highlight the injustice of the manner in which their claim for pay restoration has been handled.”
SIPTU says that successive government’s have failed to properly fund community organisations.
SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser Adrian Kane said, “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 union is seeking the establishment of a collective bargaining forum for workers in the community organisation sector.