Siptu water services strike called off

June 02, 2023 06:59 PM AEST | By PAMEDIA
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A nationwide strike by Siptu members in local authority water services, which was due to start on Wednesday June 7, has been called off.

The dispute related to a demand that the Government protect all earnings for local authority water service workers if they did not transfer to the state-owned utility company Uisce Eireann, formerly known as Irish Water.

Siptu said Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien had “conceded to their demands” over overtime, conditions and allowances.

Siptu public administration and community division organiser Karan O Loughlin said: “A strike which was to commence on 7th June and could have adversely impacted water services across the country has been averted by the intervention of minister O’Brien.

“This evening the minister has written to Siptu and categorically stated that workers who opt to stay in local authority employment rather than transfer to Uisce Eireann will have all their earnings protected.

“The letter specifically includes guarantees in relation to workers’ allowances and overtime payments they accrue currently as part of their work.

“The letter gives concrete examples of how the earnings of our members will be protected and removes an attempt by individual local authorities to renege on this commitment.”

The minister had previously said that no-one would be transferred to Uisce Eireann on a compulsory basis.

Speaking in the Dail on Thursday, Mr O’Brien said workers will be transferred with existing terms and conditions.

“Those who decide to stay within the local government sector will have their terms and conditions also protected.”

Siptu said this was a “major success” for its members.

Local authority worker and chairman of the Siptu water workers national negotiating committee, Stephen Kelly, said: “We believe we have now secured such a guarantee from the minister in a manner which will not allow individual local authorities to deviate from it.”

Siptu sector organiser Brendan O’Brien said: “The protection of our members’ earnings was a commitment given by local authorities and the Government in the framework for the future of water services document which lays out the move towards a national public water utility.

“Unfortunately, as this document was being implemented it became clear certain local authorities were not living up to the protection of earnings commitment.

“This forced our members to vote for strike action which they were to commence next Wednesday.”


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