Date Released: 20 November 2015
SIPTU and TEEU local authority members working under the management of Irish Water have today (Friday, 20th November) overwhelmingly voted for industrial action to prevent the privatisation of the public water service. Last month, Irish Water said that it intended reduce the local authority workforce in the company by up to 1500 by 2021. The unilateral announcement was in breach of the Service Level Agreement reached with trade union representatives in 2013 which obliged the company to consult with them in relation to any proposed changes in staffing numbers.
In ballots counted this morning, 91% of SIPTU and 84% of TEEU local authority members working under the management of Irish Water voted in favour of industrial action, up to and including conducting work stoppages, in a dispute concerning the threatened displacement of water service workers by private contractors.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “The result of this vote represents a very strong mandate from our members to fight the creeping privatisation of the public water service. The concerns of local authority water workers about the threat to public water services has led their decision to take industrial action when and if necessary. We do not accept that the public water service can be adequately delivered with the planned reduction of frontline staff numbers which is in the order of 40%.”
TEEU Official, Paddy Kavanagh, said: “Union representatives will be meeting with the management of Irish Water next Thursday (26th November). At this meeting we will set out the position of our members and depending on the response of the company, and following further consultation, decide on what course of action will be taken.”