Hundreds of community employment schemes around the country have shut down as CE supervisors stage a one-day strike over pensions.

Community employment scheme workers also marched from Dublin's Custom House to the Department of Finance, where they are calling on the Government to address the issues in dispute.

The Government has said the staff in question are not public servants, and granting their demands could trigger knock on claims.

More than 1,200 community employment scheme supervisors have been overseeing 900 State funded services ranging from childcare to meals on wheels for almost 30 years.

But they do not count as public sector workers - so when they retire they will receive the State pension.

A 2008 Labour Court recommendation said the State should implement an occupational pension arrangement for them.

But the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform disagreed, arguing the supervisors are not public servants - and awarding pensions to them could trigger knock on claims. 

Last year the Dáil heard resolving the dispute could cost over €347 million, although unions dispute that.

They estimate 450 schemes will be shut down by today's 24-hour strike.

Damien McCluskey, Community Employment Supervisor at Finglas Community Childcare group, has said 
they do not want to be on strike but feel they need to take this action to secure better pensions. 

Mr McCluskey also said "further action" will be discussed later today. 

He said he has worked in the sector for over 30 years and he will be left with the State pension "and nothing else" when he retires. 

"After 31 years service to the community, I reckon we are due something," he added.

Also marching are some workers with similar employment status in so-called Section 39 agencies - whose austerity pay cuts were not restored in line with government employees.

They are expected to hold their formal strike next Friday.

The 24-hour work stoppage will affect clients in the following agencies which have been served with strike notice:

1. Valentia Hospital, Kerry
2. St. Joseph's Care Home, Kilorglin, Kerry
3. Delta Care
4. National Council of the Blind in Ireland
5. Western Alzheimers
6. St Mary Telford
7. Co-Action Bantry
8. South West Doctors
9. Dublin West Home Care Services
10.Terenure Home Care Services
11. Crumlin Home Care Services
12.Camphill (Wexford)
13. Galway Rape Crisis. 

The staff in question are represented by SIPTU and Fórsa.