Eircom said that it is confident that the current dispute with the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) can be resolved in the Labour Relations Commission before the situation escalates into full-blown strike action.
On Tuesday, the CWU, the largest union in Eircom, voted to take the strike action over a 2pc pay claim due to have been introduced two months ago. Some 84pc of CWU members at Eircom voted, with 96.7pc voting in favour of the proposed strike action.
Yesterday talks between the unions and Eircom collapsed after the telecoms operator tabled an eight-point proposed basis of settlement for discussion purposes.
Eircom said it would not only make the 2pc increase and backdate it to 1 May but it would pay the phase 3 and phase 4 increases of 2.5pc outlined in the Towards 2016 document.
However, it appears Eircom is now betting on the issue being resolved by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) before any strike action commences.
A strike action would see 5,000 out of 7,000 Eircom workers stop work and this could have a material impact on the performance of the national telecoms network in the coming weeks.
Such a situation would damage Ireland’s competitiveness insofar as many overseas investors’ operations and export-focused SMEs rely on telecoms and the internet to conduct daily operations.
A spokesman for Eircom told siliconrepublic.com: “The company is hopeful it does not escalate to industrial action.
“We certainly hope that discussions can happen and it can take place. We are optimistic and willing to engage with the LRC if talks are called for,” he said.
By John Kennedy