SIPTU trade union members staged a demonstration outside Kilkenny Castle yesterday afternoon calling for independent investigations into allegations of victimization and bullying made by trade union activists.
The gathering was attended by employees of Kilkenny County Council who are attempting to raise awareness about alleged instances of mistreatment including withholding of wages, and general mismanagement within the council.
Workers say that the council is bringing in contract workers to do their jobs, and that they haven’t received pay increases in 14 years.
The worker’s representative, Ger Malone, addressed those in attendance saying that Kilkenny Council workers were ‘first class workers working in third world conditions’, adding that community positions were being contracted out.
Malone spoke of a culture of bullying within the local authority, and how council management practices were falling short of European Union standards.
She said workers were ‘expected to be available 24/7’ without receiving appropriate financial compensation.
The protestors marched through the Medieval town towards Kilkenny County Council where one man, who didn’t wish to be directly quoted, spoke of a colleague who had taken his own life due to the pressure he was under at work.
Workers complain about being unable to access overtime pay due to them: sometimes for weeks on end. They say issues brought forward for adjudication are dealt with, in many cases, by the very people being complained about.