Disability advocates strike after management backtracks on pay deal

In addition to the strike, disability advocates and workers protested outside the Dáil, calling on the Government to resolve the dispute.

NAS workers and SIPTU union members holds a banner which reads,
Image: Via X - @ivanabacik, SIPTU union members strike outside outside the Dáil today, July 9, after NAS management’s ‘failure’ to follow through on a pay deal.

As reported by SIPTU (Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union), disability advocates and employees at the National Advocacy Services (NAS) have gone on strike today, July 9, after the organisation’s management failed to follow through on a pay and conditions deal. Protestors also assembled outside the Daíl today, calling on the Government to resolve the dispute. 

The National Advocacy Services supports over 1,500 disabled people each year and has been a vital resource offering in-person advocacy interventions like housing, access to justice, health care, safeguarding, and aiding in decision-making. 

43 of the 48 staff members at NAS are members of SIPTU, Ireland’s largest trade union. The union explained that the members would go on strike because NAS’s management failed to adhere to an agreement to follow through on recommendations from the Labour Court about pay and conditions.

The workers had already started industrial action earlier this year, pausing it on June 12 to allow for talks to resolve the dispute and prevent it from progressing into a strike. However, it appears that a resolution was not achieved, and the strike action resumed today. 

SIPTU Deputy General Secretary John King shared a message to union members at the start of the strike: “This situation is unacceptable and undermines the proper conduct of industrial relations.”


“After several days of talks between SIPTU representatives, National Advocacy Service management, the Citizens Information Board and Department of Social Protection officials, the funders of the organisation, it became clear that the commitment to implement fully the necessary changes in pay and conditions was being reneged on,” King stated.

The Citizens Information Board, which sets NAS wages, is funded by the Department of Social Protection. According to NAS, discussions are ongoing and they are trying to reach an agreement to end the dispute.

Brendan Carr, SIPTU Sector Organiser, also spoke about the strike, saying: “We await the Government to honour a Labour Court recommendation issued to one of its agencies and prevent disruption to vital services for people with disabilities.”

He added: “These workers have gone to the Labour Court, achieved a recommendation and now face a body which is fully publicly funded and refusing to implement it.”

Queer disabled activist and National Advocacy Service staff member, Suzy Byrne, said that she and her colleagues were “appalled” by the way they have been treated by management. “It is saddening that we have been left with no choice but to resume strike action,” she said.

On their website, NAS acknowledged the repercussions the strike will have on its service users. The national line is currently closed, and advocacy services will be unavailable until further notice. 

A banner on their website informs viewers: “We apologise to everyone relying on our service and deeply regret the major impact this will have on those we support. We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.”  

Pickets have been placed across NAS locations all over Ireland. SIPTU protestors will be stationed outside National Advocacy Service offices in Dublin 7, Tallaght, Bray, County Wicklow, Athlone, County Westmeath, Tullamore, County Offaly, Limerick City, County Roscommon, Waterford City, Cork City, County Louth and Kilkenny during the strike. 

In addition to the strike, today, disability advocates and workers protested outside the Dáil, calling on the Government to resolve the dispute and respect the Labour Court recommendation. 

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