Crane operators in Ireland are continuing strike action today.
The Unite trade union has said the escalation in its industrial action is due to non-engagement by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Pickets were placed at a number of Dublin construction sites on Thursday and will be placed at sites in both Dublin and Wexford on Friday. A spokesman for the CIF said it had engaged with Unite on a number of occasions both formally and informally, but that it was “impossible” to make progress when strike notice was being served on its members.
Unite wants a 10 per cent pay increase for the workers, who earn about €20 an hour, which it says recognises their skills and qualifications. A row between Unite and fellow trade union Siptu over which has the right to represent the drivers has complicated the dispute. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions recently upheld a complaint against Unite by Siptu, which the organisation said had undisputed sole negotiating rights for the drivers.
In the meantime, industrial action continues. In a statement on Thursday, Unite said: “The decision to escalate the dispute was taken earlier this week by the Unite crane operators’ committee and reflects growing frustration at the ongoing refusal by the Construction Industry Federation to engage meaningfully with Unite in respect of members’ legitimate pay demands.”
However, the CIF spokesman said: “The companies affected don’t see any way of resolving this with a union who is operating ultra vires and carrying out illegal strike action. “At a time of extreme housing shortages and an infrastructural gap, and at a time when companies are seeking to relocate to Ireland, these kinds of illegal actions are very damaging Ireland Inc’s reputation.”