28 February 2008 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

Charity staff to strike

STAFF employed by the housing charity Shelter in the Six Counties have announced that they will go on strike next week in a row over pay rates and months of failed negotiations.
The employees, members of Unite trade union, voted 293-4 in favour of strike action in a secret ballot. The union has said that staff are striking as the charity’s management is planning to scrap their current pay structure and force workers to sign new contracts which they view as inferior.
Unite Regional Organiser Alan Scott said:
“There has been an overwhelming vote for industrial action and that must send a clear message to Shelter managers that it’s time to change track.
“Workers can’t live on dedication alone. They need to bring home a wage based on their union’s employment agreements with Shelter, rather than have their contracts scrapped and replaced with inferior conditions.”


Union agreement reached at Aer Lingus

MANAGEMENT at Aer Lingus and the SIPTU trade union reached an agreement this week on changes at the airline. The agreement was reached after 34 hours of continuous talks.
SIPTU National Industrial Secretary Gerry McCormack said:
“Agreement has been reached subject to a ballot of our members. We accept there has been genuine commitment by both sides to reach an agreement and the process has protected SIPTU members’ interests.”
Aer Lingus Chief Executive Dermot Mannion said:
“We have agreement on the implementation of productivity and cost-cutting measures with SIPTU and we await the outcome of their internal ballot process. Nothing will be implemented until the ballot is completed.”
Meanwhile, air traffic controllers have called off the 24-hour strike scheduled for Thursday of this week as well as suspending their ban on overtime while talks at the Labour Court aimed at resolving the dispute continue.
IMPACT, the union representing the controllers, says the dispute is about staff shortages and claims that their employer, the Irish Aviation Authority, admitted there were staffing problems at the LRC earlier this week although the IAA is denying this claim. 


Worker awarded €60,000 in age-discrimination case

A CIVIL SERVANT was awarded €60,000 by the Equality Tribunal this week after they ruled he was discriminated against when seeking a promotion because of his age. The civil servant was 59 and had worked in the Revenue Commissioners since 1979.
He was not recommended for promotion by his manager but three younger colleagues were. The Revenue Commissioners were unable to prove that this discrimination was due to anything other than his age.
Age discrimination generates more cases in the Equality Tribunal than any other area of employment equality legislation, according to Chief Executive Niall Crowley. 


Government claims it will protect minimum wage

EMPLOYMENT Minister Micheál Martin has said the Irish Government will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the minimum terms and conditions of 250,000 hotel workers in the aftermath of the legal challenge taken by the Irish Hotels Federation to the High Court.
Minister Martin expressed his disappointment with the case and said:
“Some years back, when Irish people were working in many of those jobs they were paid higher than the minimum wage. Now the minimum wage seems to be the maximum wage.”
His comments come less than a week after Louth Fianna Fáil Councillor Jimmy Mulroy said that migrant workers would be “happier” on less money than their Irish counterparts. Minister Martin said his department is seeking advice from the Attorney General as a result of this case. 

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