Unite leader hails successful defence of right to strike against legal challenge

Unite shop stewards defended against legal attack

Mechanical strike going ahead tomorrow (Friday) at H.A. O’Neil and Leo Lynch

March 9th A strike by mechanical workers in HA O’Neil’s and Leo Lynch’s will go ahead tomorrow (Friday 10 March) after trade union Unite fought off an attempt today by HA O’Neil (Jones Engineering) to obtain an injunction restraining Unite members from taking industrial action. Accordingly, official pickets will be placed at HA O’Neil and Leo Lynch sites in Leixlip (Intel) and Grange Castle (Pfizer) tomorrow.

The action follows an overwhelming vote for strike action in pursuit of a claim for restoration of the first hour of travel time, which was originally cut as a so-called ‘temporary measure’ following the 2008 financial crash. 

Following agreement at the Workplace Relations Commission last November to exclude travel time from the Sectoral Employment Order process, and failure to resolve the issue through agreed dispute procedures, Unite members have been left with no option but to take strike action in pursuit of travel time restoration, which could mean a significant increase in gross pay.

Welcoming the news that employers failed in their attempt to obtain an injunction, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:

“The attempt to restrain our members from taking strike action was outrageous, and I am delighted that the High Court refused to grant the injunction sought by HA O’Neil.  Unite is also defending shop stewards who were shamefully named in the legal action. Employers should be in no doubt that Unite will be unstinting in our defence of members’ fundamental right to strike, and that we will always step up to the plate to defend our shop stewards.

Construction workers are continuing to shoulder the burden of austerity-era pay cuts during an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.  There should be no doubt regarding Unite’s determination to see our members’ pay increased.  This dispute will escalate unless employers come to the table”.

Regional coordinating officer Tom Fitzgerald added:

“Last November, at the WRC, unions and employers agreed to exclude the travel time issue from the SEO process.  Since then, employers have sat on their hands and refused to negotiate, leaving our members with no option but to take strike action in pursuit of their demands. 

“Rather than launching frivolous and futile legal actions, employers need to step up to the table and resolve the issue in order to avoid this dispute spreading throughout the construction sector”, Mr Fitzgerald concluded.

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