31 May 2007 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

SIPTU calls for stronger enforcement of safety standards

Eric Fleming, SIPTU Sectoral Organiser this week called for stronger enforcement of safety standards in the building industry after the Dublin District Court fined construction company GT Crampton €50,000 following the death of a building worker Terence O’Neill in 2002 when concrete stairs collapsed on him at a site he was working on in Ringsend, Dublin.
Fleming called on employers to strengthen the Construction Safety Partnership process and said “We can eradicate this problem by working together. There are many building workers in hospitals in comas and many more who have suffered terrible injuries because of the tendency to cut corners by some employers.  The construction industry is an extremely dangerous one to work in – especially for agency workers. The rate of accidents is much higher for agency workers – many of whom are migrants. They often have to work in bad weather conditions, including dangerously high winds, the kind of conditions in which permanent employees are not expected to work. The spread of agency workers has been a major factor in driving down safety standards in the construction sector. It happens because some employers still put profits first and don’t see the consequences of breaking the law as a deterrent.”
Fleming went on to say that “Stiffer penalties must be imposed on employers who endanger the lives of workers in the construction industry through inadequate health and safety provision.”

Dublin Airport row resolved

A row involving Aer Lingus baggage handlers in Dublin Airport has been resolved. The dispute arose after a check-in area was relocated in the Airport and the handlers claimed that their working conditions had been diminished and claimed €1,000 extra per year in compensation.
Aer Lingus refused to pay the claims and threatened to suspend all staff who did not co-operate with the check-in area. There was a series of meetings between staff and Chief Executive of Aer Lingus Dermot Mannion and all staff have agreed to move to the new check-in area without any financial compensation.

IMPACT says private sector pay growing faster than public sector

This week, public service union IMPACT have said that pay is rising twice as fast in the private sector than it is in public services in response to figures released by the Central Statistics Office for April showing that pay in areas such as banking, insurance, and building societies grew by up to 6.3% while public sector pay has increased by just 3.5%. However, according to the same CSO figures public sector pay is still higher than average industrial earnings.  Information Officer for IMPACT, Bernard Harbour said that the reasons for this were that, “Public servants are more likely than their private sector counterparts to be in a trade union. That means it’s very difficult for public sector employers to dodge the pay increases negotiated in national deals. Sadly, this is all too common among unscrupulous private sector bosses who want the benefits of social partnership without having to pick up the tab.” 

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