Several welfare staff at The Donkey Sanctuary in Ireland have started a series of two-hour rolling strikes over plans by the organisation to make 16 staff redundant.
The Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) said its members will also picket the registered charity’s headquarters in Liscarroll, Mallow, County Cork, during the industrial action, which will occur every second day until May 30.
“The union has tried unsuccessfully to engage the company in discussions as to the reasoning behind the decision to make the 16 welfare staff redundant,” SIPTU organiser Eddie Mullins said.
“This organisation is in receipt of substantial funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and it is unacceptable that it is then unwilling to utilise the industrial relations mechanisms of the state.
“We believe that the company is in no financial difficulty and is simply attempting to replace qualified animal welfare staff with voluntary workers.
“The workers were left with no option but to take strike action and will escalate the dispute if it is required.”
The sanctuary said in a statement that it was saddened over the industrial action.
It said it had consulted staff throughout an ongoing review and restructuring of the charity’s welfare operations in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe, the changes from which will come into effect next month.
“The purpose of this welfare review is to improve the effectiveness of key welfare tasks and work together across the organisation to help more donkeys and mules in need and to better promote their welfare,” the charity said.