19 July 2007 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

Talks commence at LRC over Eircom pay dispute

On Monday talks began at the Labour Relations Commission between the unions and management involved in the Eircom pay dispute.
Last week the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) and Impact served a seven-day strike notice on the Company. Eircom, owned by Babcock and Brown – an Australian private equity house, has refused to pay workers a 2% pay increase, due under the Towards 2016 agreement, unless they agree to change their work practices under ‘documented understandings’ on productivity. All of the unions in Eircom, CWU, the PSEU, IMPACT and CPSU believe that the company’s Memorandum of Understanding involves major changes in work practices and go beyond those dealt with under the ‘normal ongoing change’ arrangements provided for in Towards 2016.
96.7 % of the C.W.U.’s 5,000 members in the company have voted for industrial action.

Unions reject ‘miserly’ 2% pay offer

A strike by council workers in the Six Counties, England, and Wales has became more likely. On Monday. UNISON, GMB and the T&G section of the Unite union formally informed employers they were in dispute over pay. The three unions registered “a formal dispute” in preparation for an industrial action ballot.The move comes after council employers made it clear that they were not prepared  to improve on a 2% pay offer. The unions believe that the employers “have dragged their heels for months. Now it’s time for them to make an improved offer or face a ballot for strike action”. The unions rejected the 2% offer on the grounds that “it fails to match up to inflation or earnings increases across the economy”. The pay dispute covers all council workers, including social workers, teaching assistants, nursery and home care workers, housing staff, refuse collection and recycling, street cleaning, parks and gardens’ workers, library and leisure staff.

New ICTU President

At the recent Irish Congress of Trade Unions biennial conference Unison’s Six-County regional secretary, Patricia McKeown, was elected president. ICTU represents over 800,000 trade unionists nationwide. The new president intends to utilise her position “to campaign on a number of  international issues in alliance with other women who have become presidents of their national federations”.

Construction job losses to increase

The construction sector in the 26 Counties may face major job losses over the next few years. The sector employs over 250,000 workers, making it the state’s largest employer. However, the Building and Allied Trades Union (B.A.T.U.) believes that during and after the August break, hundreds of construction workers, particularly bricklayers and general operatives will face layoffs and job losses. Also, the Ulster Bank,in the course of an economic analysis, predicts that the downturn in the building industry will lead to a shedding of 30,000 jobs over the next three years.

Worker receives award in ‘displacement’ case

At the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin a permanent worker, made redundant by construction firm Laragan Developments, has been awarded €14,300. The worker started work in September 2003 and was let go in September 2006 while agency workers used as ‘top-up labour’ were retained. The Tribunal also found that the employer had ignored all attempts by the worker to discuss or appeal his case. The award was made under the Unfair Dismissals Act and the worker was represented by SIPTU.

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