Dominic McGrath, PA
Siptu staged a protest outside the Fine Gael think-in, accusing the Government of privatising local employment offices.
The trade union protest took place on Monday, as the Fine Gael parliamentary party gathered in Trim in Co Meath for a think-in.
A crowd gathered outside the hotel where the think-in is taking place.
Adrian Kane, a Siptu organiser, told the PA news agency that the Government was not listening to their concerns.
Siptu, he said, was calling for the creation of a “stakeholder forum” in which workers, representatives and the Government could “sit down and agree a way forward”.
The union says the Government is overseeing a process that will allow private companies to bid for contracts to run local employment schemes and programmes.
“The people who have gathered from all over the country have been giving a professional service for the last quarter of a century.
“And a tendering process has now been put in place that will essentially privatise a service that has been provided for a not-for-profit basis,” Mr Kane said.
“The tendering process is designed that for-profit providers would win this tender.”
Mr Kane said they were seeking a meeting with Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys to find a solution.
“We’re here, on behalf of the people who work in the service, but we’re also here on behalf of the unemployed people as well, because people furthest from the labour market won’t be able to access the service under this new tendering process.”
“It’ll be designed to ensure that unemployed people will be commodified.”