18 October 2007 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
BY STEPHANIE LORD
Classroom strike suspended
THREE thousand NIPSA classroom assistants in the Six Counties have suspended strike action about pay terms while negotiations continue until the end of this month.
The dispute arose as a result of management’s attempts to re-grade the assistants’ positions alongside unhappiness regarding the levels of pay. Meetings took place all last weekend with the Labour Relations Agency but no resolution to the dispute was reached.
NIPSA General Secretary John Corey said:
“The employers have now accepted the need to enter negotiations on the key issues that caused this dispute and have also affirmed that the current terms and conditions of employment of classroom assistants cannot be unilaterally varied. However, we are still only at the start of the negotiating process to achieve an agreement that will be acceptable to all classroom assistants.”
ICTU concern over ‘flexicurity’
THE Irish Congress of Trade Unions has flagged up a number of areas that will be on the agenda for any new social partnership agreement, including ‘flexicurity’ – labour market flexibility in relation to worker security.
Jack O’Connor, President of SIPTU, said that if the government does not protect agency workers efficiently the unions will not support any moves towards ‘flexicurity’.
“Without the introduction of reforms into agency work, in particular those guaranteeing equal pay and treatment for agency workers, we will oppose this approach to flexicurity in the strongest possible way.”
Jack O’Connor went on to raise the idea of “protected mobility” for workers that would provide life-long training and income protection to them.
“Ireland needs to establish new rights to learning for workers and place new responsibilities on employers to ensure that employees have access to training.”
Labour Affairs Minister Billy Kelleher said that the Irish Government is to introduce regulations in a draft bill on protecting agency workers during the next six weeks.
Union density higher in North
TRADE UNION membership is relatively higher in the Six Counties than the 26 Counties.
An analysis of information from a new British report on trade union membership in comparison with Central Statistics Office data for the South has shown that trade union membership is 5% higher in the North.
Union density in the north was found to be 39.7 per cent compared to 34.6 per cent in the South.
Trade unions in the North have a statutory right to mandatory recognition, something which appears to have helped the levels of trade union membership.
Pilots to vote on Aer Lingus deal
MEETING of pilots and IALPA union executives this week approved an agreement reached by management and unions that will be put to a secret ballot.
Under the deal, the unions have agreed that Aer Lingus can establish bases at local pay rates and conditions and IALPA will be the recognised union in Belfast. The deal also covers transfer conditions and pensions.