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Staff at Kerry Women's Refuge to strike over roster dispute

Management have refuted claims they are unwilling to engage in talks.

Image: Domestic violence/Shutterstock

SIPTU MEMBERS AT Kerry Women’s Refuge have voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over rosters.

The Union has said that employees at the refuge in Tralee were recently told by management, ADAPT Kerry Ltd, that the 12am-9am shift at the centre was set to end.

SIPTU said that this would result in safety issues for the women staying at the centre and also lead to out-of-hours support staff seeing their workload reduced by up to 50%.

The facility provides services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Sharon Cregan, SIPTU’s Community Sector Organiser, said that staff met with management on 1 October “in an effort to resolve this dispute”.

Cregan stated that the talks were unsuccessful because of “management’s lack of meaningful engagement”.

Management immediately confirmed its intention to continue with the implementation of its proposal without agreement.

Annamarie Foley, ADAPT’s General Manager, said that the company “totally refutes SIPTU’s claim that [it] has failed to engage with the Union and its members”.

“On the contrary the company has at every opportunity attempted to engage constructively with SIPTU regarding its proposals.”

Safety issues

Foley noted that management’s decision to reduce out-of-hours support care at the refuge was partially influenced by funding cuts but also by the board’s desire to increase its community-based responses to women and children.

She added that APADT is “acutely cognisant of its responsibilities for the safety and welfare of clients using our services and would like to assure women that systems are currently being put in place to address this and that changes in staffing rosters will only take place when these systems are fully tested and commissioned”.

Cregan said that management “has not fully disclosed the details of how it intends to provide security and support for service users after they implement the reduced rosters for the out-of-hours service”.

These developments are of grave concern to the SIPTU members employed in the centre.

Foley said that the board “remains available for further discussions with SIPTU on this issue”.

The refuge operates as a non-profit organisation and is registered as a charity. It is run by a voluntary board of directors that employs one manager and seven staff.

Read: Why are there no refuges for male victims of domestic violence?

Read: Greyhound workers vote to end 14-week lockout

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Órla Ryan

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