Eircom strike averted

20 Jul 2007

A crippling strike that would have possibly affected communications across Ireland has been averted after Eircom and the Communications Workers Union yesterday agreed on proposals set out by the Labour Relations Commission.

“The relationship is now once again on proper and mutually respectful footing,” said Eircom group human resources manager Tony Olthof.

“We are in a race together against our competitors and we need to progress in a collaborative manner,” Olthof added.

Last week the Communications Workers Union, of which 5,000 of Eircom’s 7,000 employees are members, issued strike notice after negotiations broke down over a 2pc pay increase agreed under the National Towards 2016 Agreement and changing work practices at the telecoms operator.

The matter was brought before the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) on Monday and both sides have accepted settlement proposals that include Eircom honouring the 2pc pay increase backdated to 1 May and “structured discussions” between the CWU and Eircom on future changes at the company.

A spokesman for Eircom told siliconrepublic.com: “The 2pc will be paid as we always said it would and in return the union has given commitment to engage fully with the ongoing change programmes proposed. We hope to do that in the next week.

“We’ve made a commitment that we’ll consult the union on future changes. Basically, what we’ve got to do is prioritise the tasks that we think needs to be done, and redesign work processes accordingly.

“What we’re asking of people is reasonable and doable and that’s what the partnership is there for,” the Eircom spokesman said.

By John Kennedy