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Matthews Call for Government Engagement with Community and Voluntary Sector

Date: 8 December 2021

Deputy Matthews was speaking following a recent campaign launched in conjunction with multiple trade unions that is seeking increased pay and conditions for people who work in the community and voluntary sectors. Discussing the issue, Deputy Matthews said:

“The work that is done by those in the community and voluntary sector across Wicklow is invaluable and I have been fortunate enough to witness that first-hand both as a councillor and more recently as a TD. The type of work categorised in this sector varies hugely and includes caring for the elderly, support for people with disabilities, homeless services, as well as community development, local employment services, jobs clubs, homework clubs and family resources centres.

The extent to which we rely on these services was shown throughout the Covid pandemic and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those that went and continue to go above and beyond for their clients. I am contacted on a daily basis by families and individuals who rely on these community supports, and we would be absolutely lost without them in Wicklow.

“Following a brief engagement with some community reps in Wicklow, their demands of a 3% wage increase and access to sick leave, improved job security and pension entitlements are not unreasonable, particularly given that they have not received a pay increase in most cases, over a decade, I am more than happy to offer any support I can.

“In recent days, I have raised this with Minister for Rural and Community Affairs as a starting point and I hope that Minister Humphreys will be in a position to engage fully with this sector early in the new year.

“I have already agreed to attend a public meeting being held before Christmas where the full extent of the problems in the sector can be aired, and I look forward to engaging with those who work on the ground and offer any support I can.

“These are the very definition of front-line workers and I hope that I will be in a position to visit different groups across Wicklow in the New Year, restrictions allowing and continue my engagements with the Minister on their behalf, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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