Ged Nash and Imelda Munster speaking in the Dáil this afternoon.
The Minister of State for Employment Affairs Damien English has declined appeals by Deputies Ged Nash and Imelda Munster to intervene in the ongoing industrial dispute at Premier Periclase.
The issue was raised in the Dáil this afternoon by deputies Ged Nash and Imelda Munster both of whom asked the Minster to prevail upon management at the company to respect the long standing agreements on terms of employment at the plant.
Despite the pleas of both deputies the Minister would only go as far as appealing to both sides in the dispute to engage with the institutions that are set up for that purpose, the WRC and the Labour Court.
Deputy Munster explained to him that while the workers were calling for talks the management had unilaterally taken a decision to declare a long standing agreement with unions to be null and void.
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“Talks had resumed last week at the WRC but once again management refused to sit around the table and engage with the unions” she said, thus leaving the stand-off to continue.
Ged Nash said that the dispute has already gone on longer than it needed to and laid the blame firmly at the door of the “intransigent management” that seems to be hell-bent on busting trade union activity at the plant and giving the two fingers to the WRC and the Labour Court.
Deputy Munster said that the company had given their CEOs, of which there are many around the world, a 20 % salary increase at the same time as they were refusing to talk to the workers and pleaded with the Minister to write to the company urging them to engage with the workers.
Minister English repeated that it was the responsibility of the company and the workers to use the relevant institutions to settle their differences.
Ged Nash described the Programme for Government as virtually a worker’s rights-free document but added that “if employers think they can hollow out the pay and conditions of workers and bust the trade unions of this country as a route to economic recovery they are sadly mistaken.”
“No worker ever wants to be on strike but the workers of Premier Periclase simply have no choice if they want to defend their hard won rights. An agreement is an agreement and must be respected.”
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