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Unite members in Virgin Media unanimously decide to ballot for industrial action

It was reported in recent weeks that the company may cut up to 65 jobs in the next month.

Image: Shutterstock/chrisdorney

TRADE UNION UNITE has announced that its Virgin Media members have unanimously decided to ballot for industrial action. 

The company, which provides TV, mobile and broadband services, currently employs around 1,600 people.

It was reported in recent weeks that the company may cut up to 65 jobs in the next month. 

In a statement on 1 November, a Virgin Media Ireland spokesperson said the company had entered a 30-day consultation period with employees.

Unite said today that the ballot follows the company’s decision to issue redundancy notices “without having consulted the unions involved either before or after the announcement of a proposed collective redundancy”. 

However, the company said that roles impacted did not fall under “collective bargaining groups” and that “consultation period with its staff members”. 

“Employee representatives have been nominated in the business,” the company aid. 

Unite said itself and Siptu had previously written to Virgin Media “reminding them of their obligation to engage in a 30-day information and consultation period before issuing notices of redundancy in order to minimise job losses”. 

Unite claims Virgin Media has to date failed to respond to the unions’ letter. 

Members of Unite have now held a general meeting at which they unanimously agreed to ballot for industrial action, up to and including strike action. 

Unite said it understands that Siptu will be “adopting a similar approach”. 

“No redundancies should be imposed before a full consultation process has been carried with a view to minimising job losses, as required by law,” Unite regional officer Brendan Byrne said. 

“Furthermore, any redundancy packages following this process must be in line with the agreement reached between unions and the company in 2015,” Byrne said. 

He added that “the resolution of this dispute lies in the hands of Virgin Media”, as he called on Communications Minister Richard Bruton to intervene in the situation. 

“If this matter is not resolved we will be moving swiftly to ballot for industrial action,” Byrne said. 

In its statement, Virgin Media said: “As stated recently, we are entering a transformation and efficiency programme to ensure continued revenue growth in a highly competitive market”. 

“This involves making some difficult decisions which will impact a number of roles in the Virgin Media Ireland business.”

The company said that “it is envisaged that up to 65 roles may potentially be affected and we have entered a 30-day consultation period with staff members. This is being conducted in a sensitive and appropriate manner”. 

“We are aware of and are adhering to our legal obligations,” it said. 

In 2015, UPC Ireland rebranded as Virgin Media.

The company bought TV3 the same year and the TV station rebranded as Virgin Media Television in 2018.

Siptu has been contacted for comment. 

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