20 April 2006 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

BY Justin Moran

Polish worker dies in Roscommon

A Polish worker who suffered severe injuries following a fall from a crane in Roscommon Town last Friday died at the weekend. This brings to 13 the number of deaths on workplaces in the 26 Counties since the start of the year.

The Health and Safety Authority is carrying out an investigation of the site and the circumstances of the death while the Gardaí have taken the crane away for forensic examination.

In another accident, a Kilkenny mine worker is recovering in Dublin after being injured during an underground explosion at Galmoy, north Kilkenny. The man is understood to have lost a number of fingers following the premature explosion of a detonator.

Later this month, 28 April, is traditionally marked internationally as a day of mourning for the 56,000 workers killed, and another six million injured, in the workplace every year.

Ballivor workers accept enhanced redundancy package

Workers at the NEC Semiconductor plant in Ballivor, county Meath, which closed at the start of February, as reported in An Phoblacht, with the loss of 300 jobs, have agreed to an enhanced redundancy package successfully negotiated by their union.

Instead of the statutory two weeks redundancy per year of service, SIPTU negotiated a much improved deal for workers, with almost four times the statutory payment, which received an overwhelming endorsement from workers.

"As well as the 7.75 weeks' pay per year of service," said Meath Branch Organiser John Regan, "management will renew VHI cover for employees who are entitled to such cover; employees with less than two years service will receive the equivalent of the 7.75 weeks' pay per year of service on a pro-rata basis; additional payments will be made in respect of employees who are affected by the 'capping' of the redundancy formula and an additional €1,000 in respect of any other standing claims."

New York transport union hit with $2.5m fine

The Transport Workers' Union Local 100 in New York is to appeal a fine of $2.5 million imposed by the state Supreme Court following strike action taken by the union that saw New York's public transport system grind to a halt for three days before Christmas. Under controversial anti-union State law, public employees are barred from striking.

The Judge has also moved to imprison Roger Toussaint, president of the 33,000 strong union who, while promising to appeal the judgement, has indicated a willingness to go to jail in defence of his members. The strike followed a breakdown in negotiations between the union and the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) over a new contract.

Speaking before he was sentenced, Mr Toussaint told the Court, "No one in their right mind wants to go on strike. Even legal strikes come with enormous risk to our members. So as a matter of policy and common sense, a strike for us is always the last resort. Our union felt that we had to.

"This was, if anything, a defensive strike, sir. We were fighting back against the MTA's efforts to impose an entire new pension on future transit workers and to begin that process for all municipal employees in the city of New York."


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