IWA strike today over government’s failure to engage with unions

SIPTU members of the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) will today go on a 24-hour work stoppage following the government’s refusal to discuss with their union their need for a pay rise for the first time in 14 year.

SIPTU members of the Irish Wheelchair Association from Offaly and Westmeath will picket at the community garden in Clonbrusk, Athlone today.

Adrian Kane, organizer of SIPTU’s Public Administration and Community Division, said: “We have repeatedly requested talks with the government regarding funding for the IWA. The organization depends on this funding to provide its workers with their first pay rise in 14 years.

“Unfortunately, the government has been silent on this dispute. He maintains the claim that he has no role to play in its resolution because he is not the direct employer of these workers. This situation is untenable and stands in stark contrast to the state’s approach prior to 2008, when there was a long-standing wage link between community sector workers and so-called Section 39 organizations such as the IWA with the public sector workers.

He added: “Our IWA members will be taking picket lines in selected locations across the country to underscore their rightful demand for a living wage for the vital service they provide. We have been inundated with messages of support from service users and the general public. They understand the importance of this service and the need for pay justice for those who provide it.

“We remain available for talks with the government on how these workers can get a pay rise for the first time in over a decade. Unfortunately, if the government does not engage, this conflict will escalate until it hears the legitimate demands of these workers.

The one-day work stoppage of IWA workers across the country today will be followed by a one-day work stoppage of workers from community organizations in Waterford and Galway, as well as selected programs elsewhere in the country on Wednesday, July 6. The action is part of the Valuing Community campaign, supported by SIPTU, Fórsa, INMO and ICTU.

For more information, contact Adrian Kane, SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organizer, on 087 678 4736

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