15 February 2007 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe By Stephanie Lord

TEEU seeks meeting with minister on Pfizer

Representatives from the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) have sought a meeting with the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment over the shedding of 535 high-skilled jobs that will be cut over the next two years at Pfizer plants in Loughbeg, Little Island and Ringaskiddy, County Cork.

Pfizer and the Industrial Development Authority want to sell two of the plants as going concerns.  The TEEU is seeking guarantees from Pfizer bosses that they will recognise the commitment and dedication of workers, some of who have worked for the company since the 1970s. TEEU representative Pat Guilfoyle said:

“The union wants Pfizer to step up to the mark and treat these people in a way that will reflect their service.”


Aer Lingus workers vote for industrial action

SIPTU members at Aer Lingus have voted by an overwhelming majority in favour of industrial action up to, and including, strike action.

The union’s National Industrial Secretary, Michael Halpenny, said:

“This shows a very clear determination on the part of union members to defend their agreements and to defend themselves against unilateral attacks by the Aer Lingus management on their agreed pay and conditions.”

Prior to privatisation, the airline management gave firm commitments that if agreements needed to be changed there would be a process of consultation with the staff and their representative unions and terms and conditions of employment would not be altered without prior agreement. Halpenny said these assurances were given while the management was in state ownership and that, consequently, “government bears a heavy responsibility to ensure that commitments are honoured”.

“This is a totally unavoidable dispute, the resolution of which is in the gift of management by simply adhering to the agreements that they themselves negotiated and by abandoning the provocative and dangerous strategy of confrontation by unilateral action.”


Ryanair offers pilots pay rise if they drop case

Anti-union airline Ryanair has offered Dublin-based pilots the same pay rise as its pilots at other bases around Europe if the case being pursued by the pilots and their union IMPACT is dropped.

Increases given to the pilots’ European counterparts were withheld from the pilots as a result of them pursuing their case. The company wants them to operate within their Employee Representative Councils that the Labour Court originally found was not a proper collective bargaining unit.

But the Supreme Court has ruled that such bodies can act as proper units and has ordered that the case be reheard by the Labour Court.


Dublin Port strike ends

Last week’s strike at Dublin Port by TEEU workers ended after three days.

The port had been the subject of an all-out picket by ICTU, while both SIPTU and the Seamen’s Union of Ireland had both issued notice of supportive action, leading to speculation about possible widespread disruption at the port. Intensive talks between port management and the unions resulted in agreement to a Labour Court investigation into the practice of shore-based workers operating on tugs, as well as a suspension of this practice. The nine workers suspended during the dispute have returned to work, the issue of lost pay lost will be dealt with by the Labour Court.

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