Staff in Childminding Ireland say they will begin indefinite strike action from next month unless management withdraws compulsory redundancy notices and engages with staff over proposed restructuring plans. Their union IMPACT says the organisation is not experiencing financial difficulties and has produced no business case to justify redundancies. It believes Childminding Ireland is illegally threatening redundancies to force administrative and specialist staff out of their jobs before replacing them with others.
IMPACT says management at the State-funded body has refused to put forward a business plan to support its claim that restructuring and redundancies are required. And it accuses management at the State-funded body of refusing to engage in a conciliation organised by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Five of the six staff at the organisation have voted to take industrial action. IMPACT official Barry Cunningham said management had issued the five with individual redundancy notices, with notice periods ranging from a month to almost a year.
“This is a bizarre and bogus redundancy threat in which a State-funded employer simply wants to get rid of its staff and replace them with others. Childminding Ireland has had plenty of opportunities to explain why it thinks restructuring and redundancies are necessary, and it has consistently failed to do so. It is clear that no business case has been put forward because no business case exists,” he said.
Although management says the staff will be able to apply for as-yet-unspecified new roles in a restructured organisation, the union believes that the new roles will be constructed to exclude them.
“Childminding Ireland is a representative body, not a childcare provider. Yet it has indicated that it will, in future, insist that administrative, communications and accounts staff have childcare qualifications. There is no objective reason for this. The real rational is simply to get rid of the well-qualified and loyal staff they currently have,” said Mr Cunningham.
IMPACT has issued Childminding Ireland with notice that the industrial action will commence on 7th June. The union says this allows management a final opportunity to resolve the issue through negotiations in the Workplace Relations Commission.