Community workers strike for wages outside social welfare offices

Protesters gathered outside the offices of the Department of Social Care in Dublin and Waterford to demand a pay rise for carers and community workers for the first time in more than 10 years.

A third protest took place in Eyre Square in Galway city, as part of a 24-hour work stoppage.

Siptu’s industrial action was held from midday on Wednesday and represents the second day of strike action in a long-running wage dispute.

On Tuesday, a day-long stoppage of Irish Wheelchair Association workers across the country took place as part of a Valuing Community campaign supported by Siptu, Forsa, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization and the Irish Congress of unions.

Siptu said the government has claimed it has no role to play in resolving the dispute because it does not directly employ these workers, which “is untenable and in stark contrast” to the way the pay of community workers was linked to that of public sector workers. before 2008.

Bernie Donnelly, community employment supervisor at Finglas, at a Siptu protest (Brian Lawless/PA)

Bernie Donnelly, community employment supervisor in Finglas, Dublin, which runs a meals-on-wheels scheme, told the PA News Agency the last pay rise she received was in 2008.

“Through all of this, we have seen the participants receive their increase in social benefits each year, which would average around five euros per year and we have received nothing.

“So during that time we lost, you could say the equivalent of 75 euros.

“I would say to the government to start – these community employment programs, people working in the community, save the government a fortune.

“We save the HSE thousands and thousands of dollars each year by providing meal services in the community.

Demonstration outside the offices of the Department of Social Care in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

“If they were to pay the going rate for it, it would cost them a lot more than what’s being handed out now. So what we want to see is fairness.

“We want to be paid for the work we do. We want to get recognition for the work we do. And we really don’t ask for more than that.

Siptu Public Administration and Community Division organizer Adrian Kane said ‘our members employed by the Irish Wheelchair Association staged a one-day work stoppage’.

“It has been very successful in highlighting the demand for pay justice for workers in the care and community sector.

“At pickets across the country, our members have been overwhelmed by the strong public support for the strike, with many welcoming the fact that workers are mobilizing for wage justice amid worsening labor market conditions. cost of living crisis.

He said the workers’ demands were simple: “That the government engage with these workers and their union representatives to discuss funding so they can get their first pay raise in 14 years.”

Joel C. Hicks