Date Released: 22 May 2013
SIPTU members engaged in a second day of strike action at the Shanganagh Waste Water Treatment Plant, Co. Dublin, have expressed serious concern over the possible environmental impact of the dispute at the facility.
The facility treats water for domestic and commercial purposes for 248,000 people living in Dublin and Wicklow. Workers believe that due to the current reduction in manning levels at the facility key processes, including the testing of water being discharged into Dublin Bay and the treatment of effluent stored in the plant, may become compromised.
The strike began yesterday (Tuesday, 21st May) in response to a management refusal to refer a dispute relating to pay and shift premium payments to the Labour Court.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Martin Meere, said: “The workers have informed me that if the process machines in the plant aren’t being operated effluent will build up in the tanks leading to major difficulties for the plant and also implications for water quality in the bay.
“The workers are very surprised SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment Ltd has yet to see reason in this dispute. The workers were prepared to lift the strike action on referral of the outstanding issues to the Labour Court for an early hearing. Unfortunately, the employers declined this offer leaving the workers with no option but to commence industrial action.”
Plant worker, Jeff Jones, said: “We have received tremendous support from the local community in Shanganagh. All we are seeking is fair pay for the hours and shifts that we work. The strike and the 24 hour pickets outside the plant will continue for as long as it takes for management to see sense.”
The workers voted unanimously for strike action at the plant on Thursday, 25th April. Following this vote management agreed to attend two conciliation meetings at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). At these meetings some issues in dispute between the workers and management were addressed but no progress was made with regard to the key concerns of pay and shift premium payments.
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 County Council.