Business Irish

Sunday 25 September 2016

999 call service workers vote in favour of strike action

Anne-Marie Walsh, Industry Correspondent

Published 09/02/2016 | 19:31

84pc of votes cast were in favour of industrial action.
84pc of votes cast were in favour of industrial action.

WORKERS who take 999 calls have voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over their pay and working conditions.

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However, their employer Conduit has said it has drawn up a contingency plan that means there will be no disruption to services.

The staff recently claimed they were being treated like schoolchildren after they were informed they had to ask permission to go to the toilet.

The Communications Workers Union said that 84pc of votes cast were in favour of industrial action.

It called on Conduit to introduced a “living wage” of €11.50 an hour, and to end “punitive” suspensions.

The workers also want a “fair” on-call policy.

They claimed they had to report to management before and after their visits to the bathroom and were allowed just seven minutes for a toilet break.

BT Ireland, which is contracted to deliver the answering service, said operators were informed of minor changes to work practices but denied they had to report to management before and after a toilet break.

A BT spokesperson said, “It is very disappointing that a trade union, which is not recognised by BT or Conduit, has decided to take this unnecessary course of action in relation to the vital emergency call answering service and continues to issue inaccurate statements.

We are unaware of the details of the union ballot or the number of union members as we have only learned of this news from the national media.

Conduit Global has been working closely with its employees, who handle 999 and 112 calls, to understand their issues and they have implemented significant changes as a result of that direct dialogue.

BT has a robust contingency plan to operate the Emergency Call Answering Service and place the protection and safety of the public first and foremost in the event of threats by this trade union.”

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