Date Released: 12 December 2013
SIPTU has called on the management of Liebherr Container Cranes, Killarney, Co. Kerry, to respect the industrial relations process and Labour Court recommendation in the dispute over pay at the company.
SIPTU Organiser, Marie Kearney, said: “The workers in this company have been waiting five years for a pay increase. Due to the commitment of its workforce, the company is highly profitable. Between 2009 and 2012 the Killarney plant has shown a net profit of €63 million of which €38.5 million has been repatriated to the parent company. In recent years, the company has also invested in its Irish operations and the workers value its commitment to maintaining a state of the art production facility in Killarney. However, it is unfortunate that during the same period there was a refusal by management to pay the outstanding wage claim.
“A Labour Court ruling which was issued on Friday, 6th December, is challenging to both the workers and management. Entering the Labour Court hearing on Wednesday, 4th December, the workers were seeking the full retrospective payment of the outstanding wage claim while management wished to only pay a 1% increase over the next three years starting in 2014. The workers are now seeking clarification of a number of points, for the avoidance of doubt, from the Labour Court in relation to the recommendation.”
She added: “A statement issued by the management of Liebherr in relation to the recommendation has proven extremely unhelpful and calls into doubt the company’s commitment to respecting its terms. It also contravenes OECD guidelines that state that in ‘the context of bona fide negotiations with workers’ representatives on conditions of employment’, a company should ‘not threaten to transfer the whole or part of an operating unit from the country concerned nor transfer workers from the enterprises' component entities in other countries in order to influence unfairly those negotiations’.
“Further, the claims by management about the removal of positions from Ireland to its plants aboard have been both unfortunate and misleading. Positions are regularly moved between Killarney and other Liebherr plants in Europe in line with the needs of the production process. The Liebherr plant in Killarney is currently working at full capacity. The workforce at the Killarney plant is highly skilled and motivated and an integral part of the company. The workers look forward to management respecting their right to be paid the wages outstanding to them.”