29 March 2007 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

ESB workers to reject Government White Paper

It has emerged this week that ESB workers will roundly reject the Irish Government’s new Energy White Paper and the unions involved will have the strength to prevent its implementation.
The primary aim of the paper is the transfer of the electricity transmission grid from the EBS to a different state body, Eirgrid. The workers and unions have met with Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey to outline their concerns with the initiative as they believe that the Government has not completed a meaningful cost analysis of the exercise and that it will lead to the evolution of the ESB into a lame company with a devaluation in the assets that they have shares in.
The unions have made their position on the issue very clear saying. Brendan Ogle of the ATGWU said: “All the physical work on the grid is done by the ESB staff. They are in a powerful position. Forgetting about generation, the transmission people can decide ‘if that is what they are doing it is our view that for the next week we are not going to any operation or transmission work.’
“All the switching of the operation has to be done by the people on the ground. Eirgrid are saying that they will take the chiefs (management) but not the Indians. The Indians may show shortly that they are more influential than the 14 managers. There is a lot more chance of running the grid with them.”
The ATGWU has called a press conference on the issue later in the week.


IWU claim rejected by Labour Court

The Labour Court this week rejected access to its facilities by the non-congress Independent Workers’ Union under the 2004 Industrial Relations Act on the grounds that SIPTU already represents the workers concerned in Fernley Airport Services in Cork Airport. The IWU had claimed that the company had failed to abide by its own grievance procedures, that employees had not been made aware of their position regarding SIPTU and that workers had a right to join a union of their choice.
A formal agreement between SIPTU and the company had been agreed in June 2005 stating that SIPTU had sole negotiating rights for the workers concerned, as well as dealing with general discipline and grievance procedures. The court stated that it was happy that the company engaged in the collective bargaining terms laid out in the Act and  declined to investigate the dispute. 


Bank to meet union about security workers

SIPTU is to meet the head of Industrial Relations at AIB this week to discuss the poor pay and working conditions of employees of a Polish security firm which provides services to Bank Zachodni WBK.
Eighty per cent of Bank Zachodni WBK is owned by the AIB. This meeting has been requested after Polish union Solidernosc (which is affiliated to SIPTU) made representations on behalf of the workers of Solid Security. SIPTU Security Services organiser, Kevin McMahon has outlined how since January over 21 security guards have been sacked by the security firm after joining a trade union.
“Though this association, AIB is aiding in the continuing victimisation and ill-treatment of the Solid Security employees. We are calling on all Irish and Polish trade union members banking with AIB to make their bank manager aware of their disgust at the treatment of their fellow workers in Poland,” said McMahon.

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