4 January 2007 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe BY STEPHANIE LORD

Ryanair fear loss of €20 Million

The Irish Supreme Court will rule on 31 January whether the Labour Court or the Labour Relations Commission has jurisdiction over industrial disputes at the Ryanair.

A total of 100 pilots have brought the case and if the Supreme Court rules in their favour, it could mean that future pay claims are adjudicated by the Labour Court rather than the airline itself. As well as this the Labour Court could also have the authority to decide on compensation and work practices for Ryanair pilots. The 100 pilots have all lodged victimisation claims against the airline through state industrial relations machinery. Ryanair could face sanctions and damages of up to €20m if they lose the case.

The low-fares airline may have to pay sanctions of twice each pilots salary (at least €100,000) if the pilots claims are proven. As well as this, 64 other pilots are pursuing an action against Ryanair saying their constitutional rights were infringed by the company after they brought in a controversial training bond. The airline had agreed to pay the cost of retraining pilots on new Boeing aircraft at a cost of €15,000 but only on the condition of pilots signing a bond that they would not leave the airline for five years.

The bond also stipulated that the pilots would have to repay the training costs if the company was forced to negotiate with any trade union during the same period. The pilots claim the terms of the bond infringe their constitutional rights, particularly the right to freedom of association and the right to allow trade unions to negotiate on their behalf.

It has been estimated that the damages payable in these cases could total €6million if successful.


L.M. Ericsson industrial action called off

Industrial action planned for the Christmas period was called off after Ericsson management conceded the right of their employees to be represented by their union SIPTU. SIPTU had served notice of industrial action at L.M. Ericsson’s from midnight on Christmas Day, in a dispute over trade union recognition. Management refused to negotiate with the Union at local level and then refused to go to the Labour Court, forcing SIPTU to refer the case under Section 20 of the Industrial Relations Act which meant the union agreed to be bound by the Court’s recommendation.

Branch organiser Ethel Buckley welcomed management’s decision to accept the Labour Court recommendation issued last June which said that the company should recognise the trade union for the purposes of individual and collective representation.

“This means that SIPTU will now be able to negotiate terms and conditions on behalf of all workers employed by Ericsson’s  – in Athlone and Dublin. It is our intention to meet the management early in the New Year to discuss issues of mutual interest in a climate of improved industrial relations,” she concluded”, Buckley said.


Irish Intel Plant Cuts Costs

Computer company Intel are attempting to cut costs at their Irish plant by setting cost-reduction targets for their service providers. In September 2006 Intel announced plans to cut annual costs by $2 billion which would result in 10,500 people being let go from their worldwide workforce.

The latest Intel costs came to light as a result of a Labour Court hearing into Group 4 Securicor’s attempts to change work practices and duties for security personnel at the Intel plant in Leixlip, County Kildare.  Group 4 Securicor had originally proposed that staff would work 50 hour, five-day weeks – a huge change from the 48 hour, four-day weeks previously worked. Group 4 Securicor outlined to the court how their proposal came as a result of Intel’s request to cut costs.




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