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Trowels downed in Macroom

Wednesday, 4th July, 2018 4:44pm

Archaeologists in Macroom downed their tools until 6am this morning after a 24 hour protest over a pay dispute with their employer.

Members of Unite’s archaeology branch, along with supporters from around the country, gathered in Macroom town square yesterday to hold a protest in solidarity with Unite archaeologists working for the Irish Archaeological Consultancy (IAC) on the Macroom Bypass scheme.

Their strike action began at 6am yesterday and ended this morning.

The industrial action being taken by Unite members working for IAC comes on foot, Unite says, of the company’s refusal to engage with their workers collectively, either directly with their union or through the WRC.

The solidarity protest by Unite follows IAC’s decision to deploy what Unite has described as “union-busting tactics”, when IAC contacted members working on the Macroom Bypass project last Friday to give them a week’s notice of termination, claiming that the archaeological works had come to an

end.

Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said: “Despite enjoying healthy and growing profits, IAC has refused to discuss a pay claim with its workers collectively. Despite the fact that IAC benefits from public contracts, such as the Macroom Bypass scheme, they have not only refused to engage with Unite directly, but have also refused to engage through the state’s industrial relations machinery, the Workplace Relations Commission.”

An IAC spokesperson told the Cork Independent: “IAC deals directly with staff on contractual matters. Earlier this spring, the trade union Unite circulated a letter throughout the commercial archaeology sector, seeking additional increases in pay/rates.

“IAC have been offering salary packages on projects, at, or up to four per cent above those rates. IAC communicated this position to the WRC on 11 May this year. The spokesperson continued: “On 28 June, Rubicon Heritage - the main archaeological contractor on the Macroom N22 Bypass – informed IAC that as their work would be completed over the following week, IAC would no longer be required on the project after 6 July. IAC immediately notified each member of staff personally and said that the company would make every effort to accommodate them on other IAC projects where this was possible.”

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