Mallow workers left with ‘no choice’
SIPTU members at one of Ireland's leading automotive component manufacturers, who have a plant in Mallow, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.
The proposed action at Kostal Ireland GmbH, which could escalate to strike action, is part of a dispute to protect workers’ agreed terms and conditions of employment. The company also has a plant in Abbeyfeale in Limerick.
According to SIPTU leader Joe Kelly, a ballot of SIPTU members employed across both plants returned a result of 98% in favour of industrial action and 94% in favour of strike action.
Mr Kelly said: “This ballot was taken as part of a dispute resulting from attempts to unilaterally change our members’ terms and conditions of employment.
“Agreements were reached a number of years ago under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission conciliation service. These provided for SIPTU members in non-production roles to receive bonuses related to performance appraisals as well as bonuses for our members who are at the top of their pay scale and no longer require appraisals. Kostal management has made a unilateral decision to not pay these bonuses which provide our members with a once off payment of up to 3% of basic pay.”
Mr Kelly went on the say that the change in terms and conditions has “deeply angered” the trade union’s members as evidenced in the ballot results.
He said: “Prior to the ballot, management was given the opportunity to honour the existing agreements and enter meaningful negotiations. The refusal to do this left our members with no choice but to take this course of action. There is an agreed procedure to address any issues but management has ignored this by making this cut.”
SIPTU Shop Steward, Ciara McMahon Flavin, added: “None of our members want to be in this position. However, when our terms and conditions are being stripped, it leaves us with no option. It is disappointing we have had to take this course of action but we are united in our resolve to protect our agreed terms and conditions of employment.”
SIPTU committees from both Cork and Limerick plants will meet this week to discuss the details and timeline of the proposed industrial action.
The Cork Independent reached out to Kostal Ireland GmbH for a response but none was received by time of going to print.