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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Another Irish Water row: Workers may go on strike over job cuts

Workers are concerned about the planned reduction of frontline staff numbers.

Image: water tap image via Shutterstock

LOCAL AUTHORITY MEMBERS who do work for Irish Water have overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action over staff reductions.

In ballots counted this morning, 91% of workers represented by Siptu and 84% of those represented by the TEEU voted in favour of action up to and including work stoppages. The unions say the dispute centre on the “threatened displacement of water service workers by private contractors”.

Unions also claim there has been a breech of the Service Level Agreement in relation to changes in staff numbers – something which Irish Water refuted.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said the results of this vote “represents a very strong mandate from our members to fight the creeping privatisation of the public water service”.

The concerns of local authority water workers about the threat to public water services has led their decision to take industrial action when and if necessary. We do not accept that the public water service can be adequately delivered with the planned reduction of frontline staff numbers which is in the order of 40%.

In a statement, Irish Water said it had noted the outcome of the ballot.

“Any proposed action by local authority staff must comply with recognised practices and national agreements.”

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Union representatives will be meeting with the management of Irish Water next Thursday to set out the position of our members and a decision on further action will be taken afterwards.

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