Date Released: 26 August 2013
SIPTU has condemned the use of agency staff by Uniphar Retail Services (URS) in an attempt to undermine industrial action at O’Rourke’s Pharmacy in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare.
Workers at O’Rourke’s Pharmacy are conducting a one-day work stoppage, today (Monday, 26th 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 Organiser, Graham Macken, said: “As the one-day work stoppage commenced today an agency worker arrived to attempt to do the work of our members who are outside the pharmacy on the picket line. However, the tactic of attempting to break a lawful strike has badly backfired on the company with locals refusing to enter the pharmacy and many expressing their extreme disgust at the company's tactics and refusal to negotiate with the workers' representatives."
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.”
SIPTU has served notice of industrial action on five of the 60 pharmacies managed by URS. As well as O’Rourke’s the pharmacies affected include Byrne’s (North Circular Road, Dublin), Blake’s (Celbridge, Co. Kildare), O’Sullivan’s (Bantry, Co. Cork) and Crowley's (Mahon, Co. Cork) where workers conducted a one-day stoppage last Thursday (22nd August). Despite a refusal to recognise SIPTU for the purpose of collective bargaining, management at Byrne's and O'Sullivan's has agreed to attend proximity talks and action at these locations has been temporarily postponed.