Unite warns of dangers in ‘unprecedented situation’
January 19th: Unite, which represents craft workers in Bus Éireann, today warned that the actions of management are putting the company’s future at risk. The union’s Regional Officer Willie Quigley was speaking following a letter to unions from management issued yesterday and released to the media in what Mr Quigley described as the “latest episode in management’s PRs assault on the company’s workers”.
“For over a week, our members have had to hear their employer’s plans leaked to the airwaves and the national press. This is an unprecedented situation in industrial relations terms, and management’s behaviour is particularly disappointing in a company which describes itself, in the letter issued yesterday, as a ‘premium employer’.
“The decision to issue yesterday’s letter to the media, with its horrendous implications for the jobs, terms and conditions of many staff, was just the latest episode in management’s PR assault on Bus Éireann workers.
Unite disappointed at TCD decision to downgrade contracts, halt promotions
Support and service staff hit by new arrangements while academics spared
January 18th: Unite, which represents support and service staff in Trinity College Dublin, today expressed disappointment at the renowned university’s decision to unilaterally halt future promotions for support and service staff, while also employing future staff on five-year instead of permanent contracts.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne said:
“Trinity College clearly needs tutoring in industrial relations. This unilateral management diktat indicates a worrying lack of respect for the College’s non-academic staff. It seems that TCD is intent on further widening the gulf between academic staff on the one hand, and support and service staff on the other.
“A general meeting of support and service staff was organised jointly by Unite and SIPTU last week and attendees were extremely angry with college management. Union members will be working to overturn this decision and to ensure that all decisions about future terms and conditions are made in full consultation with the workers and their representatives.
“We will be happy to provide the tutorials in industrial relations which TCD management clearly needs”, Mr Byrne concluded.
Union questions RTE motivation in running non-story
January 17th: Trade union Unite today revealed that its building at 15 Merrion Square was offered to help relieve the then developing homelessness emergency three years ago. The building was not considered suitable by the groups in question which include Focus Ireland. The revelation by Unite comes in the wake of an RTE news story by reporter John Kilraine which attempted to question the union’s application for planning permission in the context of the Home Sweet Home occupation of Apollo House, which was supported by Unite along with other trade unionists, artists and activists and volunteers.
Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:
January 16th: Unite is seeking to sell the former Amicus offices at 15 Merrion Square, which are in poor condition, with the benefit of planning permission for apartments. In so doing, our aim is to maximise the value of this property for our members throughout Ireland and ensure that we have the resources to support and defend them.
It is Unite’s understanding that, following legislative changes introduced by the previous Government, the planning permission applicant (Unite the Union Trustee Company), had no legal option but to seek a social housing exemption. If it should transpire that this was not appropriate in the case of 15 Merrion Square, the application will be withdrawn.
Unite regards attempts to draw a parallel between 15 Merrion Square and Apollo House as, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, mischievous. As a NAMA property, Apollo House belongs to the people of Ireland.
Unite remains fully committed to the aims of the Home Sweet Home campaign, and we are proud of the campaign’s achievements in not only highlighting the scandal of homelessness in Ireland but also in securing six-month beds for 84 people.
Unite will not be issuing any further comment on this matter.
Time to stop leaking and start talking
January 15th: Unite, which represents craft workers in Bus Eireann, has called for the Grant Thornton report on the company to be published along with the terms of reference given to the consultants. Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley said:
“For almost a week our members have been subjected to a barrage of leaks in the media. These leaks have included details from a consultants’ report which has not been seen by unions, and suggestions that management is preparing to meet unions to discuss “implementation” of this unseen report – despite the fact that unions have yet to receive any invitation to talks.
“It is time to stop leaking and start talking. In the first instance, I am calling on the Minister to publish both the report and the terms of reference given to the consultants, so that all stakeholders – including the travelling public – are fully informed.
“Talks should then be convened with a view to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the company and the vital service it provides – a service which, in Unite’s view, should continue to be run in its entirety as a public service. It should be noted that management has already accepted that pay increases must form part of any talks.
“The difficulties currently facing Bus Eireann can only be resolved through a transparent engagement between all stakeholders”, Willie Quigley concluded.