7 December 2006 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
BY STEPHANIE LORD
Greencore profits underline case of former sugar workers
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has claimed that Tuesday's announcement by Greencore that it has made total profits of _96.6m underlines the case being made by former sugar factory workers for a better redundancy package.
Ferris said: "The fact that Greencore has posted such colossal profits having exited the sugar industry reinforces the need for the company to honour its original commitment to a proper redundancy package for its former employees. The company has refused to comply with a Labour Court order and is arrogantly flaunting its massive profits and move into property development, while former workers are being short changed.
"I am yet again calling on the Government to bring pressure on Greencore to honour its commitments and to share at least some of its profits, produced by the very workers it is now callously abandoning, with those who have lost out in its transformation from a major food processor to an asset stripping property speculator."
Labour Court's Calls for Minimum Wage Increase
On Friday, the Labour Court in the 26 counties called for the minimum wage to be increased by €1 to bring it up to €8.65 per hour with effect from July 1 2007. This would be preceded by an increase from €7.65 to €8.30 per hour with effect from January 1 2007.
It had been previously agreed in the Social Partnership Agreement, Towards 2016 that the minimum wage would be adjusted with effect from 1 January 2007, which the Government has signed up to. Although this is less than one month away the Minister for Labour Affairs, Tony Killeen has said that he must consult with the Economic and Social Research Institute and consider the impact of any proposed increase on the "rate of employment, the overall economic conditions in the State and national competitiveness".
Killeen's comments came after business groups IBEC and ISME rejected the Labour Court recommendations.
Oil Delivery Workers Ballot on Strike Action
Workers employed by Maxol Direct in the north will ballot for strike action this week after the company refused to give them a pay increase to meet the rising cost of living or go to the Labour Relations Agency to help resolve the matter which has been negotiated on for the past three months.
The workers who are represented by the ATGWU had sought a 3.7% increase in wages but were offered 3% by Maxol management which included stipulations that there would be a reduction in overtime during the normal working week and the likelihood of working additional days during the busy winter months with a view to getting leave in lieu during the summer.
Sean Smyth, the ATGWU regional organiser said, "That means the men would lose their overtime and around £120 for doing three extra days and not being paid for it". He further went on to say "In reality, this is a pay cut. It would mean a loss of £40 a day.
"All we want is an increase in keeping with inflation".
Job Losses in Kildare at Magna Donnelly
Two-hundred and eighty workers are to be let go when the Magna Donnelly car mirror manufacturing plant in Naas, County Kildare closes and moves its operations to North America and Spain. The US based company has been in Naas since 1969 and partly blames the strength of the euro against the dollar for the decision. SIPTU Branch Organiser, Joan Wisdom has described the news as a "blow to the workers and the community, especially at this time of year. SIPTU will now be seeking an early meeting with management to discuss the implications of their decision for the workers and negotiate the best severance deal possible".
Gate Gourmet move described by union as "sinister"
Gate Gourmet has confirmed that they are proceeding with the immediate reorganisation of their employees including instructing certain staff members to change their work practices. It was also revealed that the company has engaged in carrying out profiling of individual employees to establish who was most likely to resist changes in their duties. General manager of Gate Gourmet in Dublin, Brian Murnane has said that it intends "to require employees to vary the manner in which they carry out their work within their current employment contracts".
SIPTU have described the move by the company as "sinister, provocative and reprehensible".