A one day strike by community employment (CE) supervisors and assistant supervisors took place in Cork and across Ireland today.
The industrial action follows a 10-year dispute over pensions.
The 1,250 staff concerned have no access to any occupational pension scheme, despite a 2008 Labour Court recommendation.
More than 250 supervisors have retired with no occupational pension since the 2008 Labour Court recommendation was published with between 30 and 40 retiring each year.
Speaking at the protest rally at INTREO Centre on Hanover Street, Ian Thomas, supervisor of the Carrigaline Community Employment scheme and chair of Fórsa’s CE Supervisors branch said: “I’ve been working as a CE supervisor for 24 years and the pension issue has been an objective for us throughout that time.
“I was in the Labour Court in 2008 when our case was heard, and the recommendation made then was a really positive result.
“We are approaching the 11th anniversary of that Labour Court recommendation, and the current government is the third administration since the recommendation was made,” he added, describing his colleagues as frustrated.
“Nobody has lifted a finger to implement the Labour Court recommendation, and as a group of workers we are frustrated and angry that this has been allowed to idle for so long.” Mr Thomas described the strike action as the groups’ last resort.
He also warned of the possibility of further action after the unions meet in Dublin next week.
The workers involved are represented by Fórsa and Siptu trade unions.
In a recent letter to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, Fórsa official Angela Kirk explained that both unions had worked tirelessly with the minister’s department and had campaigned to secure the implementation of a 2008 Labour Court recommendation.
Ms Kirk said frustration with the process prompted the decision to take industrial action.
Congress general secretary Patricia King said that “it is an outrage that these workers do not have access to an employer-sponsored occupational pension scheme”.
“The fact that workers in these state-sponsored schemes are denied this basic entitlement is not acceptable,” she added.
“In many cases, these workers are involved in the provisions of essential services that are relied upon by some of the most vulnerable communities in our society.”