Unite and Siptu workers on the picket lin ein August. Photo: Andy Spearman.
When workers at the RHI Magnesita (Premier Periclase) plant took to the picket line in August in support of their demand for recognition by the company of their Trade Union (SIPTU and Unite) representatives, they were determined to stick it out.
They had been in dispute with the company since June when they said they would no longer engage with trade unions and had tried to change the worker’s terms and conditions of employment under a collective agreement that had been in place since 1998.
They probably didn’t think they’d be there for nine weeks but stick it out they did and their dispute made national headlines and was debated in the Dáil
But on Friday last their perseverance and solidarity finally paid off when the Labour Court found in their favour and today they returned to work with their cause vindicated.
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In a statement released on Friday, the trade union Unite, announced that its members would be returning to work this morning, Monday 19 October, following nine weeks on the picket line. The decision follows a Labour Court recommendation which addresses the workers’ concerns.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley said: “Our members spent nine weeks on the picket line, and their determination to secure decent treatment has been vindicated by the Labour Court which issued a favourable recommendation yesterday addressing the workers’ concerns.
“Our members have voted to accept the recommendation and will be returning to work on Monday” he said.
“This outcome again illustrates the importance of workers coming together in a union to defend and advance their terms and conditions collectively”, Mr Quigley said.
Local Labour TD Ged Nash welcomed the development saying he was pleased that the recommendation from the Court has been backed by Unite and SIPTU members at the Boyne Road plant.
“The hearing took place last Monday and the recommendation was issued by the Chair of the Court very swiftly, mindful of the fact that the strike at Premier had continued for nine weeks” Deputy Nash said.
“The recommendation shows clearly that the stance taken by the workers has been vindicated.
“I applaud the courageous action the workers took in standing up for their rights and the dignified way in which they conducted themselves during the course of this challenging dispute.”
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