“Stop taking the Mickey”, workers tell building bosses

unite-white-out-of-redCrane operators need a lift says Unite

July 21st: Unite, which represents over 90% of crane operators in Ireland, held a protest outside the headquarters of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in Dublin today.  The event marked the first day of industrial action which had been deferred for a week to facilitate talks at the WRC, which broke up inconclusively yesterday. In an indication of Unite members’ anger at CIF chief Tom Parlon’s claim that Irish cranes are ‘Mickey Mouse’, today’s demonstration had an appropriate theme with Unite crane operators telling the CIF: ‘Stop taking the Mickey!’

Unite’s Crane Committee decided to hold a demonstration rather than picket individual firms to minimise disruption in the sector and inconvenience to other construction workers.  However, it is likely that pickets will be placed on relevant CIF firms next week.

Speaking at today’s event, Unite Regional Officer for Construction Tom Fitzgerald called on the CIF to engage meaningfully with Unite on the workers’ pay demands, pointing out that “an idle crane is an idle site” and that a swift resolution of this dispute is in the interests of the construction sector as a whole.

“Crane operators need a lift, and Unite is determined to ensure that they get it.  Unite is calling on the CIF to engage meaningfully with Unite on the legitimate pay demands of crane operators.  We note that the WRC remains available to assist in resolving this dispute”, Tom Fitzgerald said.

A workers’ representative who attended yesterday’s WRC talks added:

“It’s time for the CIF to stop taking the Mickey and stop insulting our members.  Crane operators are amongst the most skilled workers in the construction industry – and their job is among the most stressful.  Every lift has the potential to cause damage, injury or death, and operators are tasked with maintaining complex machinery.  These levels of risk and responsibility must be reflected in their pay”, he said.

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