Around 1,250 community employment scheme supervisors are considering industrial action because they still have no access to an occupational pension scheme.

This is despite the Labour Court recommending ten years ago that the Government should establish a scheme for them.

Community employment schemes provide work in the community for long-term unemployed people as a stepping stone to regular employment.

Approximately 25,000 people avail of the schemes which deliver training and support in community services, including creches and meals on wheels.

Speaking at the Fórsa services and enterprises divisional conference in Galway, National Secretary Angela Kirk said the 2008 Labour Court recommendation had been neither accepted nor rejected by successive governments.

Since it was issued ten years ago, around 250 supervisors have retired with no occupational pension, while a further 30 to 40 are retiring each year.

A 2015 high-level forum to deal with the issue which was recommended by the then Labour Relations Commission broke down last year with what Fórsa described as "zero progress", and the dispute was not resolved in last year's public service pay talks.

Ms Kirk said a previous ballot for industrial action had been shelved while negotiations held out the prospect of some progress, but said the CE supervisors' branch has now voted to reactivate it.

Carmel Keogh of Fórsa's CE supervisors' branch told delegates that, while supervisors spent their careers helping disadvantaged, marginalised people and the long-term unemployed, when they retire, they become disadvantaged themselves.

She described it as "scandalous" that three successive governments had failed to act on a recommendation from the State's highest industrial relations authority.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said: "The employees in question are not public servants and we have no further comment on the matter".

The department refused to comment on why it has ignored a Labour Court recommendation for ten years, or why it had continued to engage with unions on behalf of the workers concerned about the pension issue over that period. 

Call for no compulsory redundancies at Eir

The Fórsa conference in Galway has also passed a motion calling on the union to ensure there no compulsory redundancies are imposed by the new owners and management within Eir.

Yesterday, the company announced 750 redundancies but stressed they would be voluntary.

The motion also urges Forsa to engage with the Government to ensure highly trained and specialised work does not continue to be exported from the country.

It notes that, at the current rate, Eir will become a company of 2,000 employees, down from 15,000, while the majority of the work will be done off-shore.