Unions call for stakeholder forum with Minister Heather Humphreys

Fórsa and Siptu members working in local employment services have demanded that the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys immediately establishes a stakeholder forum to resolve the privatisation threat to these essential community services.

Speaking at the protest Siptu Deputy General Secretary,  John King, said: “Our members are demanding that the Minister keeps her word and engages directly with the representatives of staff, service providers and service users to ensure the future of local employment services. The establishment of a genuine stakeholder forum would be the way to make an immediate start. The Minister has already given a commitment on the floor of Dáil Éireann to Deputy Sean Sherlock that she should meet with workers representatives so we expect her to honour that commitment. The reality is that every day the Minister refuses to meet us or enter a dialogue the more and more people are being consigned to the dole queue. That is not good enough. With long term unemployment, particularly among young people, running at unsustainable levels these essential community services are needed now more than ever.”

Siptu Community Sector Organiser, Peter Glynn, said: “If these tendering processes proceed as planned it will lead to the wholesale privatisation of local employment services. This will see the forcing out of the effective community-based non-profit providers of local employment services. It makes no economic sense and it will rip the heart out of communities.”

Fórsa Assistant General Secretary, Lynn Coffey, said: “As individual employments these workers are very vulnerable, but there is power in coming together. With the collective support of Fórsa and Siptu comes collective strength and these members have the full support of our unions.”

The action today is part of the ongoing ‘Our Community is Not for Sale’ campaign demanding an immediate halt to the a government tendering process for private companies to bid for state contracts to run programmes to assist people getting back into the workforce.

Click here ‘Our Community is Not for Sale’ video