Cllr Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig is calling on people in the community to stand in solidarity with striking workers in Gweedore next Monday.
SIPTU members working at Rapid Action Packaging in Gweedore have scheduled a 16-hour work stoppage on 24th September in a bid to achieve union recognition.
Ahead of the industrial action, Glenties area Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig has put up billboards around the Gweedore Industrial Estate in Derrybeg as a show of support to the workers.
He said: “I am asking for the three parishes to come out on your lunch break for 10 minutes and stand in solidarity with the workers who are only looking for very basic conditions and rights and that’s union recognition.”
“It is vitally important that the workers are fully supported,” Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig added.
In a statement last week, management at RAP said it is prepared to enter talks with employees in a bid to resolve the industrial dispute. They said they have had no complaints or issues from workers and have not been told key information about the dispute from SIPTU.
In response to RAP, SIPTU organiser Declan Ferry dismissed claims concerning the conduct of union activity and said: “I have written to the Operations Manager of the RAP plant in Gweedore. In my communication with him I clearly and categorially refute his claims concerning the reasons for and the conduct of the ballot for industrial action at the company.
Ferry said: “Firstly, the ballot, in which SIPTU members voted decisively for industrial action, was conducted strictly in accordance with the Industrial Relations Act of 1990 and the rules of our union.
“Claims by the company that it should be furnished with the full details of the ballot, including the number of its employees that are members of SIPTU, are incorrect. The union is not legally obliged to conduct its business in this manner and will not do so in relation to a company with which our members are in dispute.
“Secondly, there is reference to an ‘employee forum’ which was established by the company earlier this year. This forum is not an independent body which can adequately represent workers in their dealings with management. SIPTU members in RAP have a properly formed workplace committee and it is through it that they wish to conduct their business with management in relation to industrial relations.”
He added: “The claim that our members have ‘no issues with the company other than union recognition’ is simply incorrect. Our members have raised several issues including rates of pay, precarious employment conditions and the function of the grievance procedures at the company. They wish all these issues to be dealt with through management engaging with their union.
“This is why the first step to dealing with all the problems for workers at the company is for their fundamental right to be represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes to be recognised. This is in line with a Labour Court recommendation issued to the company.
“Finally, in its statement the company said that ‘over the past 20 years’ it ‘has not had to attend the Labour Court for any other matter’. This is correct but only because until this year there was no process in the company by which a group of workers could take a grievance or complaint to the attention of the State’s industrial relations mechanisms.”Tags: