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'We've been waiting for 12 years': Hundreds of Community Employment supervisors strike over pension rights

They want the incoming government to implement a Labour Court recommendation issued in 2008 that a pension scheme be put in place for them.

Community Employment scheme supervisors protesting in Dublin city today.
Community Employment scheme supervisors protesting in Dublin city today.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

HUNDREDS OF COMMUNITY Employment scheme supervisors today staged a strike in Dublin city over pensions.

Section 39 workers, who are employed in HSE-funded organisations, whose pay was cut during the recession and was never restored also joined the protest.

Community Employment (CE) scheme employees and supervisors marched from the Custom House to the Department of Finance to call on the incoming government to address their demands.

They want ministers to implement a Labour Court recommendation issued in 2008 that a pension scheme be put in place for them. Some 12 years on, they are still waiting.

The government has said community employment scheme supervisors are not considered to be public sector workers so they receive the state pension when they retire.

Protesters called on outgoing Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to implement a 2008 Labour Court recommendation which ruled that a pension scheme should be put in place for the supervisors.

Ian Thomas, from Co Cork, who has worked as a CE supervisor for 25 years, called on the incoming government to address their demands “once and for all”.

“We are still waiting for our pension 12 years after we went to the Labour Court. It appears to me that the government is giving two fingers to the Labour Court,” he said.

“Martin Luther King said he has a dream but we also have a dream and we have a Labour Court recommendation in our favour.

“I would like to tell the incoming government three things: respect the Labour Court, respect the Labour Court recommendations, and implement the recommendations and implement them now.”

Inconvenience 

Labour TD Ged Nash said that, while he regrets the closure of hundreds of projects around the country, Labour supports the supervisors’ strike action.

“While it will inconvenience many people, this just highlights that the work of CE supervisors is so valuable,” he said.

“Fine Gael has failed to seriously engage with CE supervisors. Labour ensured their issues were included in the 2015 Haddington Road Agreement, but the current Fine Gael Government has done very little in the meantime.

“Government or public bodies should never ignore the rulings of the Labour Court. The government should meet with Siptu without delay to work out a way forward for this group of workers who have been badly let down by Fine Gael.”

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