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National Advocacy Service In Wicklow Hold Protest Calling For Better Pay

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has strongly criticised the failure of the management of the Citizens Information Board to honour a recommendation from the labour court in respect of pay and conditions in the National Advocacy Service.

The service plays a role in giving advice to, and representing the interests of adults with disabilities in their dealings with official bodies. This failure has forced the NAS to pursue strike action.

NAS members began industrial action last month but called it off following written commitments by management to fully implement the findings of the Labour Court in respect of pay and conditions for NAS staff.

In a statement Deputy Brady said:

“Last month on the 12th of June I joined with members of the National Advocacy Service on the picket line in Bray as they began industrial action in support of a campaign for improved pay and conditions for their members.

This was the first time in their 14-year history that members of the NAS took industrial action, despite the fact they did not receive a single pay rise in that time.

Within hours of standing on the picket line members suspended their strike action after receiving a written agreement from their management in the Citizens Information Board that it would fully implement the Labour Court recommendation concerning pay and conditions for NAS staff. 

Despite this written agreement, management of the CIB felt fit to renege on this commitment, despite numerous meetings with SIPT and NAS representatives.

Now, members of the NAS feel that they have no option but to recommence their industrial action from today.

They are simply asking that their pay and conditions would be put on a par with others who are getting paid more to carry out the same work.

The inability to offer NAS workers comparable pay and conditions is making it difficult for the service to recruit and retain staff.

The role that the NAS plays in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the state cannot be overstated. Their efforts have literally taken people in the prime of their lives out of nursing homes, allowing them to lead productive and meaningful lives in their communities.

They took their case to the Labour Court in January, where they received a favourable recommendation, which was ignored, leaving them with no option but to pursue strike action.

I have written to Minister Heather Humphreys urging her to act to compel the CIB to implement the recommendations of the labour court. The impact of the failure of the CIB to honour their own commitment to accept the labour court recommendation is impacting on service users, which include some of the most vulnerable in the state. The government needs to act now, it is within their control to end this strike if they act fairly.”

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