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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 16 January 2021

Strike ends at Dublin incinerator after management agrees to reinstate sacked workers

It’s understood the strike had taken place as a result of three workers being let go from their jobs by text message last Friday.

14/12/2009 ESB Poolbeg Power Stations Poolbeg power station Source: Rollingnews.ie

Updated 18.50

AN UNOFFICIAL STRIKE which took place today at the Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin has come to an end.

It’s understood that the action has been brought to a close following an agreement by local management to reinstate three workers who had their employment terminated last Friday via text message.

Two of the three workers who were let go at that time are with union Siptu while the other is a Unite member.

Today some 300 workers, about half of the number working on the site, downed tools upon hearing what had happened to the other three workers and began a protest outside the site gates.

It appears that a key facet of the dispute, in tandem with the three workers being let go, is the split between Irish and non-Irish workers and alleged disparity in wages.

The largest company working on site is Covanta, with many other sub-contractors working beneath that company’s umbrella. It’s unclear which sub-contractor the three workers in question here were employed with.

“The way these men were let go is a sign of a battle we’re always fighting in the construction industry,” Unite representative Tom Fitzgerald said.

There also seems to be a race to the bottom with migrants being pitted against Irish workers at lower rates – this is something we’ve asked local management to address.
Given 300 workers walked off the site today, the depth of feeling that can be seen is obvious.

Local management has now agreed to re-instate the three men and to find them positions on site, although what form those positions will take or which sub-contractor will be involved is not clear.

“We have a written commitment now to find a position for these guys,” said Fitzgerald.

We’ll meet them again on Thursday and hopefully we can iron things out further. But at present we have a very positive outcome.

A spokesperson for Covanta this evening said that the company “deeply regrets the disruption caused by the unofficial work stoppage”.

“The company is engaged in ongoing dialogue with trade union representatives to seek to resolve the matter,” they said.

Since the construction project recommenced in October 2014, all efforts have been made to ensure that the highest levels of compliance exist on the site.
Due to the changing nature of this construction project, it is inevitable that as some works are completed, certain workers are no longer required while demand increases for workers with different skills. Almost 2,600 personnel have been employed since the project started, and of that number less than 300 were from outside of Ireland.
While 15 workers’ contracts were ended last week, 30 personnel with different skills began work on the site this Monday, and of these 15 were non-Irish.
Covanta has worked closely with the local employment agency to ensure all contractors engage with the local employment centre and that, where possible, workers recruited are retained for the maximum period.

Originally published 15.34

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