3 April 2008 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

Aer Lingus staff reject changes in conditions

EIGHTEEN HUNDRED SIPTU members, mostly employed in ground operations at Aer Lingus, voted this week by a margin of three to one to reject a deal on the introduction of new work practices.
The deal, which included proposals on staff mobility and flexibility, was almost 100 per cent rejected by SIPTU members in Shannon Airport. The airline hoped that this deal would allow them to save €10 million a year through staff savings by requiring staff to work different shift lengths and allowing management to move employees between job responsibilities during shifts.
Management has said it will only give outstanding pay entitlements under Towards 2016 if and when its new plans for work practises are implemented. Further to this, they previously threatened to suspend staff if they fail to agree to co-operate with the new work practices. 
SIPTU has said that the blame for staff rejection of the deal lies with the company management of Aer Lingus as it has failed to deliver “workable rosters” for staff.


Port safety highlighted after death on Irish vessel

THE British Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has highlighted gaps in mooring safety procedures in Liverpool after a Polish second officer died on an Irish vessel when a rope he was hauling snapped and severed his leg.
Patrycjusz Zawadowicz was a crewman on the Dublin Viking which had sailed to Liverpool last year where the accident occurred. After the accident, he was brought to hospital where his leg was amputated. He died from his injuries six days later.
The report said that although the management company required mooring records to be inspected, the inspection procedures were informal and there were no records kept at all.
As a result of the tragedy, the MAIB has issued a safety document to seafarers for rope inspection systems.


Construction firm told to pay pension entitlements

THE Dublin High Court this week ordered a construction company to pay pension contributions of over €180,000 on behalf of 200 employees that they had withheld payments from.
The Irish Pensions Board applied to the court to have Limestone Construction Ltd, County Dublin, pay the money it owed after it emerged that the workers’ salaries had had pension contributions deducted but the money was never paid into a pension scheme.
In 2006, the company entered into a pension scheme within a Registered Employment Agreement. Some workers were having up to €36 a week deducted from their wages, which they believed was being put into the scheme. The administrator of the pension scheme said that it had not received any money from the company. Despite the landmark ruling against Limestone Construction Ltd, there are fears for the company’s financial situation as it no longer has assets in its own name, is not paying creditors and has mounting debts.


Women’s Council to sue state over workers’ rights

THE National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is planning to sue the state for discriminating against women who never received a full pension after being forced to give up work by the state marriage bar in the civil service up until 1973.
The NWCI has been working closely with the Free Legal Advice Centres. They have been in contact with 100 women who feel that they have been adversely affected by the marriage bar and are now of pensionable age. The women who were legally forced to leave employment when they got married are now not receiving their full pension because they do not have contributions for when they left the workplace.
According to the NWCI, there are 80,000 women who receive just 80 per cent of the standard pension of €223 per week and are now either living in or at risk of poverty.
The NWCI is hoping that the work that these women undertook in the home will now be recognised and that any legal action could show the discrimination levelled towards these women.

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