|The ESB Branch, Network Technicians|
Re- ESB – IWU Official Industrial/Trade Dispute
ESB, IWU, Strike Committee Press Release
The Independent Workers Union, Network Technicians section is now well into the second day of their two days Official Dispute works stoppage.
The level of turnout and support by over 500 of our members has been fantastic. Pickets were placed and manned in every county in the country.
That any group of workers employed in a semi-state company would have to resort to taking Industrial Action in the year 2021 - on the basis of simply requesting the right to a consultation process on the continued outsourcing of their work - is beyond belief.
The Employee Information and Consultation Act, 2006/08 - the legislation created by the state - enshrines that basic right in law.
The state code of practice on Disputes in an essential service requires both parties to enter the services provided by the WRC Conciliation service in issues of dispute.
The IWU from day one referred this matter to the WRC Conciliation service for mediation purposes. From that moment it unfailingly indicated to the Employer that it was available to discuss the provision of essential emergency cover during the period of the dispute.
This is not a recognition dispute. The Union in a litany of letters to the Employer has always confirmed and acknowledged the Employer’s legal right not to recognise a particular trade union.
But whether the Employer likes it or not, there is a legal obligation on the Employer to establish and provide a proper consultation forum for all employees as is clearly defined within the legislation, the Employee Information and Consultation Act, 2006/08.
The Employer has refused to enter talks or mediation at the WRC Conciliation Service which remains the appropriate forum for such matters.
The Employer appears to believe that it can just ignore its legal obligations for consultation with employees under the legislation, passed by the Government in 2006 and updated in 2008.
It would appear the only reason is that it does not like the colour of our clothes.
By their actions the Employer is actually placing all of the Employment Law legislation and accepted codes of practice of the state in jeopardy.
This is a totally unacceptable and unjustifiable position and cannot be allowed to continue.
The continued support for our action has been overwhelming. From the full turnout of our members, the grateful support shown by our colleagues in the Group of Unions, and indeed most importantly the public at large, the solidarity has been fantastic and has given us great heart. A deep felt thanks is conveyed to all.
We again apologise for any inconvenience caused to the public as a result of this dispute, not of our making.
The Union is currently involved in receiving further advice from our legal appointees in relation to the possible legal enforcement of the covenants enshrined in the legislation.
Our Strike Committee will meet tonight to review and consider all of the related matters to date and give due consideration to the advice received. They will then begin the process of creating an agreed strategy in relation to the implementation of phase two of our official Industrial dispute.
From the outset, the Union has openly expressed to both the Employer and the Media its continued availability and willingness at all times to enter into third party mediation through the good offices of the WRC Conciliation Services to resolve the issues at the heart of this Official dispute. The Employer continues to refuse to enter this appropriate and accepted process.
Our offer remains on the table at all times.
We again would now call on the Employer to abide by accepted and proper procedure and accept this invitation. We would contend that this would be the appropriate response from any reasonable and responsible Employer.
We patiently await that contact or call.
The ESB, IWU, NT Section, Strike Committee.