25 January 2007 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe BY STEPHANIE LORD

Security Workers to act over ‘tiger kidnappings’

Security workers involved in the cash-in-transit industry are to meet this week to discuss their response to the rise in so-called ‘tiger kidnappings’ It is expected that Union representatives will consider possible protests or work stoppages as part of their strategy.

SIPTU security branch secretary Kevin McMahon said that a number of workers were calling for such actions and that they had co-operated fully with the range of security changes that had been introduced. “The meeting will decide what particular course of action we need to take for the safety of our members. It will he be an opportunity to get the reaction of staff,” he said.

McMahon also said that workers were annoyed at comments made by Justice Minister McDowell, criticising the industry’s slow progress in introducing greater security. He said staff were particularly annoyed given the failure of McDowell and the government to bring in safety measures repeatedly requested by the union.

 

Strike notice served on Dunnes supplier

SIPTU have served strike notice on one of the main suppliers to Dunnes Stores, Irish company Whelan’s. 460 workers are facing an uncertain future due to the ending of a supply deal between Dunnes and Whelan’s next month. According to SIPTU management at Whelan’s has assured workers that it will clarify the company’s future but a clarification has not been forthcoming. The workers are threatening to begin strike action at midnight on Thursday.

 

Aer Lingus Unions threaten strike

Employees of Aer Lingus are to be balloted on industrial action after a letter from management signalled they must accept new work practices. In the letter which is believed to have been posted on notice boards at Aer Lingus on Monday night, the company’s Chief Executive Dermot Mannion warns that the airline is out of line with its competitors in “some critical areas”. It goes on to state; “Given our significant growth and expansion plans, this is no longer sustainable.”

The changes in work practices outlined in the letter include staff on new contracts getting less pay for overtime and fewer holiday entitlements. The letter does not specifically state what will happen if the plan is rejected however it does warn that the company will be forced to “address the issues by all available means”. Unions believe that this means Aer Lingus will cut jobs if new work practices are not accepted. SIPTU and IMPACT have warned that they will not accept any plan to unilaterally change work practices and the dispute has been referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Both unions have said that the row will lead to industrial action if changes are made without agreement and have commenced balloting of members on this.

Staff numbers in Aer Lingus have dropped from 6,500 to 3,500 in just the past five years.

 

Unions will seek more if inflation continues to rise

The trade union movement have warned that they may seek to renegotiate the recent social partnership deal ‘Towards 2016’ if inflation continues to rise over the coming months. The Central Statistics Office this week announced that the inflation rate had hit 4.9% in December -– the highest level in four years. ‘Towards 2016’ includes annual pay rises of only 4.6% for workers. The December figure was a jump up from its November level of 4.5%. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions have stated that it will be looking for further increases if it goes up to around 6% in the coming months.

SIPTU have condemned Government policy for being responsible for an increase in December’s rate of inflation.


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