Around 15 community workers joined a strike in Letterkenny town centre today demanding a pay rise for people in community employment schemes.
The SIPTU-led protest march and rally took place from the Port Road to the Intreo Centre on High Road as part of the Valuing Care, Valuing Community campaign.
Staff from 13 community organisations in Donegal are seeking their first pay rise in 14 years.
SIPTU says the Government is intent on provoking more strikes in care and community organisations as it seeks to ignore three days of industrial action in the sector.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “Most of these workers have not had a pay rise since 2008. Unlike trade union members in the public or private sector they currently have no way of negotiating a pay increase.
“Their wages can only be increased by the Government agreeing to increase funding to the organisations which employ them. We need the Government to do as it did prior to 2008 which was provide increases in funding to Section 39 care and community organisations in order to allow for pay increases so these vital workers can continue to provide the services they do.”
SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “Across the care and community sector, workers are demanding that their unions escalate the campaign of strike action because they have no other option in the face of a worsening cost of living crisis. These workers are being forced onto the picket line as the only alternative is leaving the jobs they love or being forced into the ranks of the working poor.”
He added: “The solution to this industrial relations crisis is simple, the Government must respect these workers and engage with their unions.”