A strike notice from the Communications Workers Union (CWU) is likely after yesterday’s talks with incumbent operator Eircom collapsed. The operator said it was “disappointed that the unions failed to engage in a meaningful discussion”.
“This is a missed opportunity to resolve the issue,” Eircom added.
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.
An increase is due to 7,000 staff members under the Towards 2016 Partnership agreement.
Eircom is refusing to make the pay increase happen unless the workers agree to new terms and conditions.
Unions had agreed to hold off serving seven days’ strike notice to Eircom until a lynchpin meeting with Eircom management yesterday afternoon.
Eircom said yesterday that it tabled an eight-point proposed basis of settlement for discussion purposes.
The unions, it is understood, privately considered the document but said they would not discuss the proposed settlement with Eircom unless it received a guaranteed date for 2pc pay increase.
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, such increases would also be accompanied by conditions which the unions rejected.
“Eircom is now concerned that certain CWU officials may be pursuing an undisclosed objective, perhaps to secure pay outcomes inconsistent with Towards 2016, which would thereby undermine the fabric of the national partnership arrangements.
“The company wants to reassure customers that it will continue to provide service and conduct its business, and it is putting contingency plans in place in the event of industrial action,” Eircom stated last night.
By John Kennedy