Monday, 16 July 2012

CE Workers Win Massive Victory

SIPTU members have welcomed the decision of the Department of Social Protection to partially restore material and training funding to Community Employment (CE) schemes.

The decision followed an intensive lobbying campaign by trade unions on behalf of CE workers and will ensure schemes across the country can continue to deliver vital services to local communities.

At a meeting on Friday, 13th July, officials at the Department of Social Protection confirmed to a union delegation that the total materials and training budget for 2012 will be €20.5 million, an increase of €9.5 million over the allocation announced in the budget in December 2011.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Darragh O’Connor, said; “The decision to nearly double the CE materials and training budget from what was initially allocated will ensure that no CE scheme will close in 2012. CE schemes employ over 22,000 people and deliver a range of crucial services including childcare, elder care, disability care, drug rehabilitation and environmental work, so it was crucial that the Government decided to re-think this budget cut.”

He added; “The decision of the Department of Social Protection to review its allocation follows an intensive seven month trade union led ‘Save Our Schemes’ campaign. SIPTU members and activists brought their message about the importance of CE schemes to politicians across the country with delegation visits, mass meetings and open days". 

There was also key engagements with Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton and senior Departmental officials by SIPTU General Officers Jack O'Connor (General President) and Patricia King (Vice President) during the campaign.

CE Supervisor and SIPTU activist, Seamie Briscoe, said; “Over 50 Government and opposition TDs heard first hand from workers the impact of cuts and the likely closure of schemes if action wasn’t taken. This decision is recognition of the crucial role that Community Employment plays, not only in the provision of vital services, but also in helping people get back to work. It also shows why community sector workers need to get organised to defend jobs and services.”  

SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, welcomed a further commitment by the Department of Social Protection to a wider review of CE and Community Childcare schemes.

“If the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, is to meet her stated aim of a Scandinavian model of childcare the potential role of Community Employment has to be fully realised,” he said. 

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