Date Released: 23 May 2013
Strike breakers are being utilised in an attempt to disrupt an official SIPTU dispute at the Shanganagh Water Treatment Plant, Co. Dublin.
The decision by the management of SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment Ltd to fly in strike breakers from Spain is a major escalation of the industrial dispute that began on Tuesday, 21st May. Strike action was undertaken in response to a company refusal to refer a dispute relating to pay and shift premium payments to the Labour Court.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Martin Meere, said: “The use of strike breakers is a major escalation of this dispute and something which will deeply concern workers across the country.
“Unfortunately this action by management is in line with their past treatment of workers at this public utility. Firstly, management decided to employ workers through an agency rather than directly in an attempt to deny them security of employment and the right to negotiate decent terms and conditions.
“This was followed by a refusal to respect the workers’ basic right to be represented by the union of their choice. The company then dismissed without reason a democratically elected workforce representative. Finally, on the centenary of the 1913 Lockout they employ the tactics of the bosses of that period and bring in strike breakers from aboard in an attempt to undermine the resolve of workers while an official dispute is ongoing.”
Martin Meere added: “The workers are now calling on all involved in the operation of this plant, including Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, to end this deplorable treatment of workers.”
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.
SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment Ltd is a joint venture between the Irish construction company, John Sisk & Son Ltd, and Spanish companies Dragados S.A. and Drace Medio-Ambiente S.A. SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment Ltd recruits, trains and directs all operations on site, and instructs ICDS to issue contracts and put the workers through the ICDS payroll. The plant operates under the terms of a contract with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.