SIPTU members in Laois and Offaly LES and Job Clubs to ballot for strike action

SIPTU members working in Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs in county Laois and county Offaly are to ballot for strike action due to a government decision to terminate its contract with the existing not-for-profit community-based providers.

SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, has said on more than one occasion that she would take lessons from the first phase of the public tendering process for LES and Job Clubs. The objective lesson that can be taken from this first phase is that eight of our members working in LES and Job Clubs in county Laois and county Offaly have been given notice that their employment will be terminated at the end of the year.

“SIPTU members have been campaigning against this tendering process which will result in the effective privatisation of these critical social services. It has always been clear to us that the process was designed to favour private companies over community sector providers. The outcome of the first phase of this process has proven that our worst fears were justified.

“To add insult to injury the Department of Social Protection, which is responsible for our members losing their jobs, will not even fund the community organisations employing them to pay collectively bargained redundancy terms.

“It was a political decision that has led to our members losing their jobs and the dispute over their redundancy terms will also only be resolved by political action. In light of this, SIPTU representatives have written to all Oireachtas members within the Laois/Offaly constituency seeking urgent meetings.”

He added: “This week, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, issued a report on LES and Job Clubs which supports the retention of these services in their current form. We believe that following this report, the tendering process for LES and Job Clubs should be suspended and a stakeholder forum comprised of interested parties should be established to discuss the future of these essential community services.”

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