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Minister must tackle Irish Rail's hostile approach to workers concerns – Ellis

26 April, 2016 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis has called on Minister Pascal Donoghue to challenge the hostile approach of employers in the public transport sector including Irish Rail who receive major state support. He made his comments in response to the continued threat of high court action by Irish Rail against the NBRU.

Deputy Ellis said;

“We are deeply concerned over the practices of Iarnród Éireann and the general level of antagonism being levelled at workers in the public transport sector. The threat of High Court Action by Iarnród Éireann is an absolutely unwarranted and unreasonable act of aggression against the NBRU and its members.

“The recent climate of intense hostility to towards workers by employers in the public transport sector needs to be challenged by all who believe in a fair and constructive approach to the negotiation of workers’ pay and conditions or the resolution of any dispute which may arise out of these concerns.

“It is particularly concerning that a semi-state company or any company in receipt of state funds would seek to waste money and time by using the High Court as a stick to beat workers when negotiation is the only way forward. The service provided by these companies is vital to our society and our economy and the state must discourage the use of anti-union grandstanding as a tactic at any time. The rights of workers and the public at large deserve better than these tactics.

“It is also clear that employers feel emboldened to beat unions in the court of public opinion by pushing them into action. This is unacceptable and not in the interests of anyone. Semi-state companies should not engage in this race to the bottom and such a flagrantly antagonistic approach to their workers concerns.

“I am calling on the Minister to express dissatisfaction with the behaviour of Iarnród Éireann and to make clear such tactics are not appreciated or acceptable. This should be done in private and in public in order to tackle this climate clearly.

“No worker wants to strike, they do so as a last resort and employers should seek to avoid strikes at all costs by working constructively with workers and their representatives.” 

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