Protective ballot follows High Court decision to strike down SEOs
Union warns mechanical employers: Pay agreed increases due today or face industrial action
September 1st: Unite, which represents mechanical workers (plumbers, fitters and welders) in the construction and mechanical services sectors throughout Ireland, has announced that members have voted almost unanimously to take industrial action if any employer in the sector seeks to reduce terms and conditions in the wake of June’s High Court decision striking down Sectoral Employment Orders. Agreed pay increases in the sector are due to take effect today (Tuesday). Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Tom Fitzgerald said:
“A pay increase agreed under the mechanical collective agreement (the details of which were due to be enshrined in an amended Mechanical SEO) is due to take effect today, and Unite is monitoring the situation to ensure all employers adhere to the agreement.
“Unite has consistently argued that sectoral collective agreements provide a level playing field for employers and a vehicle for workers to negotiate decent pay and conditions.
“We have written to employers’ bodies rejecting their calls in mid-August for a deferral of the increases, and we have informed them that any employer failing to implement the pay increases due to come into force today will be deemed to be in breach of negotiated agreements.
“During the month of August, mechanical members of Unite have been voting in a protective ballot to decide whether they will take industrial action if any employers renege on the agreed pay increases, or hides behind the High Court decision in order to attack terms and conditions in any way.
“The ballot is now concluded and our members voted almost unanimously in favour of such action. A similar protective ballot of non-mechanical workers in the construction sector is still under way, and will conclude on Monday September 14th.
“Employers have a simple choice: they can either abide by all agreed terms and conditions, including scheduled pay increases, or they can face determined industrial action.
“Our members’ position is very simple: What we have, we hold”, Mr Fitzgerald concluded.