13/08/2009

Unions Unite As Workers Picket Council Buildings

Four of Ireland's largest unions have joined forces to get behind picket action by Meath County Council workers against pay cutbacks.

Around 200 workers staged a picket outside county council offices yesterday in a one-day strike over cutbacks in pay and allowances.

The workers involved include traffic wardens, street cleaners, lorry drivers as well as water and sewerage caretakers, and are members of SIPTU, UCATT and TEEU.

A vote in favour of industrial action had been taken earlier in the month over the issues, but the Labour Relations Commission asked both sides to attend conciliation talks next week and the unions have been asked not to engage in any further industrial action pending the outcome.

Gardaí were called in to deal with traffic problems in Navan as delays began to build at the entrance to the Meath County Council offices, which are near a major junction.

Meanwhile the ITF, ICTU, SIPTU and Unite unions have met in Belfast to plan co-ordinated campaign to support Dublin strikers and defend conditions for port workers in Britain, Ireland and Europe

The meeting was called as a response to the plight of Peel Ports workers who are fighting for jobs and improved working conditions.

Emerging from yesterday's meeting, head of Unite's Docks and Waterways division, Brendan Gold, said: "The dispute at the Peel Ports owned Marine Terminals facility in Dublin has provided a wake up calls for all of us."

"We are now undertaking an urgent information exercise across Ireland and Britain to support our colleagues in Dublin in every way possible."

Meanwhile, ICTU Assistant General Secretary Peter Bunting said: "The Irish Congress of Trade Unions right across the island of Ireland are fully supportive of those on strike and we will utilise whatever power is in our remit to ensure that the rights of workers are not trampled on."

(DW/BMcC)

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