17 May 2007 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
Mushroom Farmer ordered to pay compensation
This week saw a mushroom farmer ordered to pay out hundreds of thousands after a compensation cheque he used to pay off unfairly sacked workers bounced. The farmer, Eamon Murray had previously agreed to pay a settlement to Latvian workers he had dismissed from his farm in Cavan. Union officials had tried to cash the cheque on behalf of the workers which was refused by the bank. Murray had sacked the workers originally due their joining of a trade union. The Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin awarded the amount of more than €330,000 against him after hearing a case brought by Siptu. He had been ordered to pay 12 sacked workers €28,000 each and his appeal against the decision was due to be heard by the Circuit Court in March. However this hearing did not go ahead after Murray agreed to hand over a cheque for €120,000 - €10,000 for each worker ¨the cheque that bounced. Murray has since left his farm in Cavan and returned to the Six Counties where he from and set up a new business – Orchard Mushrooms Ltd based in Loughgall.
140 jobs to go with Kappa Cartons closure
Unite GPM trade union have revealed this week that staff at the Smurfit Kappa plant in Coolock, Dublin were informed of a major restructuring survival plan for the firm, which included redundancy packages and pay cuts last December. However during a meeting in March, between shop stewards and union officials agreement could not be reached and the company has now decided to close the plant.
Unite official Brendan Byrne said: “Smurfit Kappa appears not to be committed to manufacturing in Ireland as is evidenced by the closure of Smurfit Print and Smurfit Paper Mills.”
Irish workers “too busy” to take holidays
Shocking statistics emerged this week that shows that more than half of Irish workers are too busy to take their full holiday entitlement. The survey conducted by Recruitireland.com, has shown that one in eight workers surveyed felt that taking their full holidays would affect their prospects of promotion. Many said they were too busy to take time off and others said that it would definitely affect their progress within the company and would be frowned upon. Aoife Curtin of Recruitireland.com said, “One reason for not taking full entitlement could be that Irish workers continue to stress about work while on holidays and worry that something will go wrong in their absence.”
Sitpu to “name and shame” employers
Siptu is planning a campaign to name and shame employers who they believe are victimising shop stewards for conducting union activity. Union sectoral organiser Eric Fleming has said, “We are tired of employers ignoring the regulations which protect shop stewards when carrying out legitimate union business and from now on we intend to intensify our efforts in exposing such employers. As far as we are concerned, employers who breach the regulations which protect shop stewards will be named and shamed.”
Fleming went on to outline how the union is currently involved in one such case where a shop steward was dismissed by Laragan Developments – part of the Hanly Group – for no reason other than he was an active union representative. Siptu are now planning to protest at a major residential site by Laragagans on Thursday April 26 between 7 and 10am as part of this campaign.