Unite condemns FAS refusal to discuss enhanced redundancy for community worker Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh (right) outside Ballyfermot FAS office yesterday

Martin Walsh (right) outside Ballyfermot FAS office yesterday

Union official warns other CE Supervisors and Jobs Club Coordinators could face similar treatment

September 25th: Trade union Unite is continuing to support local community worker Martin Walsh in his dispute with the Department of Social Protection and FAS, and today mounted a protest outside the Ballyfermot FAS office.  Despite having spent over a decade working for the Bawnogue Unemployed Group as a Jobs Club Coordinator, Martin was told earlier this year that he’s being let go with only statutory redundancy following the Department’s decision to withdraw funding from the project.

Unite has consistently argued that Martin’s Job Club Coordinator position should be transferred from Bawnogue Unemployment Centre Ltd to the South County Dublin Partnership, in order to not only protect his employment but also retain his skills in the service of the community.

Failing such a transfer, Unite argues that its option is to seek enhanced redundancy payment for Martin. Some progress has been made at the Labour Relations Commission, and Martin’s employer, the Bawnogue Unemployment Centre, has agreed to meet FAS together with Unite to ask them to provide enhanced redundancy.  This has happened before in the community sector where the employer has no money to pay enhanced redundancy because of funding cuts.

However, FAS has so far refused to meet.  Speaking today at a protest mounted by Unite and Martin Walsh outside the Ballyfermot FAS office, the union’s Regional Coordinator Walter Cullen said:

“The refusal by the Department of Social Protection, FAS and SDCP to try and save Martin’s job while maintaining the provision of a vital community service is scandalous.   FAS’s refusal to Unite and the Bawnogue Community Centre Directors to discuss enhanced redundancy simply adds insult to injury, especially given that, in other cases, FAS has paid enhanced redundancy to CE Supervisors and Job Club Coordinators across the country when funding had been withdrawn by the Department.  Traditionally, Jobs Club Coordinators have been treated the same as CE Supervisors.  If they get away with this, other CE supervisors and Job Club Co-ordinators could face the same treatment”, Mr Cullen pointed out.

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