News

On the picket line: Waterford community workers say they're being left behind

Community workers in Waterford say today probably won't be the last time they have to take to the picket line.

A 24-hour work stoppage is underway for SIPTU members in that sector locally.

It follows on from a 24-hour work stoppage started by their counterparts in the Irish Wheelchair Association on Tuesday.

A two-hour picket also took place earlier outside the offices of the Department of Social Protection on the Cork Road.

Advertisement

Jack McGrath is one of those involved.

"For 14 years we have basically had no pay increase in any shape or form," he told WLR News on the picket line.

"We were part of bench-marking and then suddenly we're not part of it and there's great frustration within the community sector.

"We're just looking to get back to being treated fairly like everyone else in the civil service."

Advertisement

The groups represented by today's action are Active People Community Group, Ballybeg CDP, Cappoquin Community Employment, Caring in Waterford, Compact Community CE Scheme, Tay Valley CLG and West Waterford GAA Clubs.

"You don't feel valued in your work," Jack continued, "and there's a general poor feeling about the whole sector right now.

"It's a shame because a lot of people are doing tremendous work throughout the whole area, helping people in very difficult circumstances and it's really quite frustrating what's going on now."

Jack works for Cappoquin Community Employment and says he's in a position now where he's helping other people get far better paying jobs than he has himself:

"Basically, we take people who are long-term unemployed and we put them back in a work environment.

"We help them with training, development, confidence, and life skills and we move them forward onto employment. We've an excellent progression rate.

"The reality is that I can get someone for a job, say through healthcare courses, into any form of healthcare employments within the HSE.

"They have increments, they have secure employment, they have guaranteed work hours and they have a pension.

"I can't get any of those."

Advertisement