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Use of strike breakers at Shanganagh unacceptable - Cullinane

23 May, 2013 - by David Cullinane TD


Senator David Cullinane has criticised SSD Shanganagh for failing to engage properly with the workers at the South Dublin Water Treatment Plant and bringing in strikebreakers from Spain.

The workers voted for strike action in late April, before agreeing to attend two conciliation meetings at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).

The LRC meetings, brought progress on a number of issues however some of the workers’ key demands relating to shift premium payments and pay were not resolved.

Speaking today from Leinster House, the Sinn Féin spokesperson on workers’ rights said:
"Throughout this dispute, the workers at the plant have been reasonable and willing to engage. The same cannot be said for management at the plant. Following the LRC recommendations, they were prepared to lift the strike action on referral of the outstanding issues to the Labour Court for an early hearing. Unfortunately the employers have declined to take up this offer leaving the workers with little option."

"Now it seems that the employers have escalated the dispute, by bringing in strikebreakers from Spain. They are trying to avoid engaging with the workers, trying to go over their heads. This is a provocative and unacceptable tactic."

"I am calling on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown and Wicklow County Council to exert maximum pressure on the company and force them to respect the rights of their workers. This latest incident underlines that PPP companies are unaccountable and a law unto themselves, in spite of the public money being spent.”

Senator Cullinane said this highlights the need for legislation on collective bargaining.
"The company’s engagement with the workers has been poor and limited, simply because the only people forcing them to engage were the workers themselves.
"Incredibly, despite years of promises, and indeed a programme for government commitment, we have no collective bargaining, which brings us in to clear contravention of several International Labour Organisation conventions, which are legally binding on us. The government has dragged its heels long enough on this and needs to act."
Workers at the plant are employed by the agency ICDS Constructors Ltd. Shanganagh Waste Water Treatment Plant is run by SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment Ltd under the terms of a contract with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Wicklow County Council.

The facility treats water for domestic and commercial purposes for 248,000 people living in Dublin and Wicklow. The workers voted for strike action in late April, before agreeing to attend two conciliation meetings at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).
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