SIPTU-represented workers at the Rapid Action Packaging (RAP) plant in Gaoth Dobhair have commenced a 16-hour work stoppage today, Monday, in a bid for union recognition.
Sinn Féin Deputy Pearse Doherty has this morning lent his support the striking workers and called on RAP management to enter into talks with workers to end the dispute.
Central to the dispute is company management’s refusal to recognize the right of workers represented by SIPTU to union representation for the purpose of collective bargaining.
Speaking from the picket line this morning, Deputy Doherty said:
“Today’s strike action comes following a recent ballot by SIPTU members at the factory who voted decisively in favour of industrial action due to a number of outstanding issues concerning employment and working conditions.
“I understand that central to this dispute between management and these workers is management’s decision to ignore a recent Labour Court recommendation and its refusing to recognize the right of workers to union representations for collective bargaining purposes.
“I again want to repeat calls I made last month when I urged both management and officials representing SIPTU workers to come together and discuss these outstanding issues which have resulted in today’s planned picket.
“The RAP packaging factory is a major employer here in Gaoth Dobhair and its growth is a testament to the skill, expertise and hard work of its workers here and it is therefore crucial that every effort is made to resolve this dispute.
“Naturally, these striking workers have not taken the decision to partake in today’s work stoppage lightly however, it’s clear that the ongoing refusal by management to fully adhere to this recent recommendation of the Labour Court in this instance has been a major factor in leading to today’s strike action.
“I understand that SIPTU has written to management to outline that union representatives are prepared and willing to sit down with them to discuss all outstanding issues in the hope that a resolution can be found.
“I want to once again urge both sides to come together and sit around the negotiating table with the view to arriving at a mutually agreeable solution.
“Likewise, I am again calling on Údarás na Gaeltachta, as a state agency that has provided supports to the company over the years, to also play a role here by encouraging both RAP management and these workers to enter into talks aimed at ending this dispute.”