Council staff up strike actions

by Ian Begley
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STAFF held a protest on the 20th anniversary of South Dublin County Council’s (SDCC) formation and are now planning to hold two one-day strikes on June 24 and June 26.
On June 17, the workers entered their third week of industrial action after council management unilaterally cut the pay of 13 of its staff and revealed plans to do the same to another 150 workers.
The workers carried banners on the day saying: Celebrating 20 Years With A Pay Cut, and, 20 Years Of Service: Staff Deserve Better.
After unsuccessful talks with council management, trade union Impact have served notice of two one-day strikes at the council on June 24 and June 26.
Union members have already withdrawn phone cover between 12 noon and 2.30pm daily and have further restricted phone cover in County Hall, the Clondalkin civic office, local libraries and depots.
A statement from Impact read: “The staff earmarked for further pay cuts have been carrying out extra work with additional responsibilities – some of them for as long as 12 years.
“Now the council says they must continue to do this work, but it is taking away the extra payment – called an ‘acting payment’ – that goes with it.”
Impact official Peter Nolan said the council’s 20th birthday had been marred by management’s actions.
“Council staff have given excellent service to the people of south Dublin for 20 years. Management has chosen to mark that commitment by imposing additional pay cuts on staff, in breach of the Haddington Road agreement,” he said.
SDCC has slammed Impact’s decision to mount strikes, saying: “[The council] sincerely apologises to our customers for the uncertainty and inconvenience this unnecessary industrial action by Impact has caused. We will do everything possible to minimise the disruption.
“Management have made significant efforts to enter into negotiations to resolve the current and planned escalation of industrial action, including three referrals to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). Impact however has consistently refused to enter negotiations, including an invitation by the LRC for a hearing as recent as Monday, June 16.
“Project allowances are paid additional to a person’s salary, and the organisation has ceased them where the projects have finished and they are no longer justified.
“A small number of acting positions were reverted because of the recent recruitment of two new directors in the organisation.
“SDCC has carried out an organisational restructuring to ensure the services, resources and capacity of the organisation is able to meet future demands and public expectations.
“As a result we are eager to progress a workforce plan that identifies an unprecedented 40 plus permanent posts within the organisation,” said a council spokesperson.
Cllr Ruth Nolan (PBP) said she fully supports the strikers.
“I’ll definitely show my support to them. The council management have taken their flexi time away from them which is totally outside the remit of the Haddington Road Agreement and I think they have every right to defend their working rights,” she said.
“We find all too often that their workers’ rights are being eroded and there’s only so much they can take.
“Civil servants and workers in general have lost basically a third of their incomes and are working longer hours for less money so this is why I have to support them,” said Cllr Nolan.

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