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Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland.
Irish Life

Hundreds of Irish Life staff to vote on industrial action

Employees have agreed to the ballot tonight amid fears over the proposed sell-off of the institution.

AROUND ONE THOUSAND staff at insurance giant Irish Life will be balloted on industrial action over the proposed sell-off of the company.

Employees at a general meeting this evening agreed to begin the ballot amid fears for their jobs if the firm is to be restructured. Irish Life has been fully owned by the State since March, when stress tests found that it needed €4billion extra capital. It is widely expected to be sold off to private investors or an international finance firm.

Trade union Unite, which represents the 1,000 staff voting, said workers feel they have not had “any information” on possible restructuring measures, and that management had “refused to address” their concerns.

The company withdrew from the Labour Relations Commission process, the union said.

Speaking after tonight’s meeting, Unite spokesman Colm Quinlan said: “We need to know what the plans are for jobs, for the future of proposed joint venture vehicles, for pensions, mortgages and for other products taken out as part of the overall company and now at risk.” He added:

It is crazy that such action may be needed to drag management’s gaze away from the post sale bonuses they appear to be rushing towards with undue haste and little care for the welfare of staff.

However, a spokesperson for the company rejected suggestions that management had refused to engage with union representatives. “We have been engaged with intensive discussions with the union at the Labour Relations Commission,” he said.

We have agreed processes for dealing with disputes which they are now ignoring. We have asked them to join us in bringing the dispute to the Labour Court but they have refused, and we would appeal to them to join us in taking this dispute to the Labour Court rather than jeopardising the business with industrial action.

Results of the ballot will be known a week tomorrow. If the result is positive, the union will have a mandate to take industrial action with seven days’ notice.

Read more: Irish Life staff may pursue industrial action over State sell-off>

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