I propose to take Questions Nos. 601, 602, 606, 609, 622, 626 and 627 together.
The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.
The programme is delivered through independent Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies. The contract agreement between the Department and the Community Employment Sponsoring Body establishes their role as an independent contractor, responsible for all purposes and all persons recruited by them
CE Supervisors are not employed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. CE Supervisors have always been employees of Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies which operate in the community and voluntary sector.
I am very aware of the valuable and dedicated service that Community Employment (CE) sponsor organisations provide in running CE Schemes across the country. CE supervisors, as employees of these organisations, are an integral part of that good work.
In relation to the Workplace Relations Commission judgement, the Department received the Adjudication Officer’s decision on Monday 4th November. My Department is reviewing the decision at present and has sought legal advice on it.
In relation to the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation, my Department officials have undertaken a series of meetings with representatives of CE supervisors to consider the issues arising from that decision. My Department has not reneged on its commitments and my Department officials continue to engage with the relevant union representatives. However, the specific details of these ongoing discussions will remain confidential while the process is on-going and I would ask Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation.