Union Proposes Manufacturing Cooperation

The General President of one of Ireland's largest unions has proposed an initiative to bring unions, employers and government together to develop Ireland’s manufacturing sector.

SIPTU Jack O’Connor, Addressing the SIPTU Manufacturing Division Conference in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, said his union was proposing “constructive engagement in a tripartite project group”.

Mr O'Connor said the group would be charged with driving the process of making Ireland the site of choice for the factories of the future and that the initiative would seek to increase dialogue between all stakeholders in the manufacturing sector with the aim of increasing its scale and workforce expertise.

Pointing to the example of worker and management co-operation in the likes of Germany, which have weathered the recession, Jack O’Connor said: “We in the trade union movement must contribute to a qualitative transformation in the dynamics of workplace organisation so that the places in which our members work become the sites of choice for investment and innovation.”

“The essential trade off embraces security and quality of employment through participation and ever increasing productivity,” he added.

In her address to the conference, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan Quinn, said she was “pleased that Ireland’s largest trade union is so clearly giving the message that innovation is our key weapon in the fight to promote jobs and growth.”

“Restoring growth and achieving sustainability requires a strategic shift from competing on the basis of cost to an approach based on creating greater added-value so that we are competing on the basis of the high quality of our products and on their innovation,” she added.

The EU Commissioner outlined her work at European level overseeing schemes such as the FP7 programme which will provide €55 billion between 2007 and 2013 for research and technological development projects.

Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, said he welcomed the SIPTU initiative and endorsed Jack O’Connor’s view that the “factories of the future will be people centred.”


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