Date Released: 29 August 2016
SIPTU members employed in GE Healthcare in Carrigtwohill, County Cork, have called on the company to honour all contracts entered into with new employees and also respect the terms of a Labour Court recommendation concerning collective bargaining.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Alan O’Leary, said: “Our members are deeply concerned by media reports, in recent days, that the management of GE Healthcare is not honouring contracts for new employees. If these reports concerning the cancelling of contracts for persons who believed they were to begin work at the company are correct, it amounts to completely unacceptable behaviour by management.
“It would seem that the company has attempted to deflect some of its responsibility for this intolerable situation onto our union, by linking it to a long running industrial relations problem concerning shift working at the plant.
“This dispute concerns the refusal of GE Healthcare to accept a Labour Court recommendation that the company should agree an orderly dispute resolution framework with the union. This framework would deal with collective issues at the company such as the operation of a four shift cycle.”
He added: “SIPTU representatives have concluded several four shift cycle agreements with other companies in the pharmaceutical sector. However, GE Healthcare continues to refuse to negotiate with the union on collective issues.
“Earlier this month, having exhausted all other avenues, our members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action to bring about a fair resolution to this dispute. GE Healthcare is now claiming that it has abandoned the implementation of a four shift cycle and as a result has cancelled its contracts with new employees.
“Rather than abandon the four shift cycle what GE Healthcare management has to do is end its intransigent approach and, through independent mediation if needs be, negotiate with the workers’ union.
“The unilateral decision by management to cancel the contracts of new workers is unfair and unreasonable. SIPTU representatives are ready to assist these vulnerable workers, if necessary, to take cases against GE Healthcare seeking the honouring of their contracts.”