Hundreds of community employment (CE) supervisors and assistant supervisors represented by Fórsa and Siptu took part on a one-day strike yesterday (Monday). They were joined by retired CE supervisors at a series of protest rallies at the Department of Finance in Dublin and at INTREO offices in Letterkenny, Galway, Cork, Athlone and Waterford.
Fórsa official Brendan O’Hanlon said the action followed a 10-year dispute over pensions. “The 1,250 staff concerned have no access to any occupational pension scheme, despite a 2008 Labour Court recommendation in their favour,” he said.
The chair of Fórsa’s CE Supervisors' branch, Ian Thomas, said the strike was literally the action of last resort. “We withdrew our labour with some reluctance, but we really have been left with no choice. Our appeals to successive administrations have fallen on deaf ears. This is the only option we have left,” he said.
More than 250 CE supervisors have retired with no occupational pension since 2008, when the Labour Court recommended that they should have occupational pension provision funded by the state. Between 30 and 40 currently retire each year.
Ian, who is supervisor of the Carrigaline Community Employment scheme in Cork, has worked as a CE supervisor for 24 years. “The pension issue has been an objective for us throughout that time. I was in the Labour Court in 2008 when our case was heard, and the recommendation made then was a really positive result.
“We are approaching the 11th anniversary of that outcome, and the current Government is the third administration since the recommendation was made. Nobody has lifted a finger to implement the Labour Court recommendation, and as a group of workers we are frustrated and angry that this has been allowed to idle for so long,” he said.
The strike and protests were widely covered on national and regional media. Paddy Quinn, a retired CE supervisor and former senior vice president of Fórsa, spoke to the Irish Times alongside branch committee member Gillian Byrne and Fórsa official Brendan O’Hanlon about the dispute. You can watch that video HERE.
A video report of the rally in Cork is available HERE.
View Fórsa’s campaign video HERE.