Fifty CE Supervisors from across the south east protested at the entrance to the slip-road to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge during the opening ceremony on Wednesday (29th).
The supervisors have balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pension rights, with phased days of industrial action due to take place over the coming weeks.
The peaceful protest got underway at 2 p.m. as the supervisors gathered at the barrier along the curved road leading to the bridge.
Waving placards with ‘Respect the WRC’ (Workplace Relations Commission), `11 years waiting for pension’ and ‘Justice for CE Supervisors’ the protesters drew the attention of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, junior ministers Paul Kehoe, Michael D’Arcy Jnr and John Paul Phelan and TDs Brendan Howlin and Malcolm Byrne.
There are approximately 1,250 CE workers employed part-time in the county in community hospitals, tourist destinations, nursing homes, in community care, tidy towns organisations etc. and if planned 24-hour, 48-hour or 72-hour work stoppages go ahead this spring there will be serious interruption across the county.
The Labour party leader got out of his car and spoke with the protesters, as did Deputy Byrne and election candidate Verona Murphy, promising to highlight their cause seeking pension entitlements, over the coming days and weeks.
Eleven of the supervisors previously made their case outside minister of state Paul Kehoe’s office in mid-January.
One of the New Ross based supervisors said: ‘We got a lot of support from the non governmental parties and from passersby who honked their horns.’
A further protest is being considered outside Mr D’Arcy’s office this week.
Fórsa Assistant General Secretary, Ian McDonnell, said: `There is considerable anger among CE supervisors concerning their treatment by the Government after more than a decade of waiting for the 2008 Labour Court recommendation regarding their pension rights to be implemented.’
Representatives of the workers received a commitment from the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, in May 2019 that the pension issue would be dealt with. This led them to suspend planned industrial action at that time.
`Unfortunately, the minister failed to live up to her commitment due to the refusal of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to provide the funding necessary for the Government to implement the Labour Court recommendation. This situation has led many CE supervisors to believe they have been left with no option but to implement a major escalation of their long running campaign.’