Date Released: 21 August 2013
SIPTU members employed in Crowley’s Pharmacy in Mahon, Co. Cork, are conducting a one-day work stoppage, today (Wednesday, 21st August), to protest at unilateral changes to their terms of employment, illegal deductions from their wages and a management refusal to engage in meaningful dialogue with their union representatives.
The action follows protests by workers in a number of pharmacies run by Uniphar Retail Services (URS) throughout the country in recent months.
SIPTU has served notice of industrial action on five of the 60 pharmacies managed by URS. As well as Crowley’s the pharmacies affected include Byrne’s (North Circular Road, Dublin), Blake’s (Celbridge, Co. Kildare), O’Rourke’s (Monasterevin, Co. Kildare) and O’Sullivan’s (Bantry, Co. Cork). However, despite a refusal to recognise SIPTU for the purpose of collective bargaining, management at Byrne's and O'Sullivan's have agreed to attend proximity talks and the action at these locations has been temporarily postponed.
SIPTU Organiser, Graham Macken, said: “URS management and its representative from the employers group IBEC have acknowledged that the company’s deductions from the workers wages are illegal under the terms of the Payment of Wages Act.
“The pharmacies’ management has stated that they are experiencing economic difficulties however URS has continued to extract the same level of commission for managing the stores."
He added: “It is difficult to see what the employer has to fear from dealing with the workers’ trade union if they believe they are treating staff fairly. This dispute illustrates again the difficulties workers have in ensuring their rights are vindicated without the protection of a legal right to collective bargaining. The Government must deliver on its commitment to provide such legal protection for the right to collective bargaining.”