Covidien workers reject Labour Court's proposed 4.5pc pay rise
Workers at the Athlone unit of US healthcare giant Covidien have rejected a Labour Court recommendation giving employees a 4.5pc pay increase over three years.
SIPTU is seeking a €1 per hour increase for its 440 members at the plant where the majority of SIPTU members currently earn €11.67 an hour working as general operatives.
SIPTU organiser in the medical devices sector, Frank Jones, said that the ball was "firmly back in the company's court" after the decision by workers to reject the Labour Court recommendation.
The Labour Court recommended a 1.5pc pay increase back-dated to April 2013 and a further combined 3pc increase in the two years after the first 12 months.
The Labour Court has also recommended the ending of anniversary gifts for workers and service dinners for those who have reached milestones such as 25 years with the firm.
Mr Jones commented: "The members were not too exercised about those issues."
He said that the Covidien firm is "hugely profitable", adding that there will be a cooling off period after the rejection ballot.
The Labour Court also recommended that workers receive 22 days leave for those who have worked with the firm 15 years or more.
Mr Jones said long-serving SIPTU members are seeking 25 days of leave.
"That number of days leave is normal across the industry and even within the Covidien group," he added.
The union official said that the company is agreeable to the pay increase in the Labour Court recommendation.
However, he said: "It is a little shy of what we are seeking."
Mr Jones said that the current pay agreement with Covidien expired in April of last year.
He said: "Since then, there hasn't been an hour missed by our members. The firm is busier than ever."
Mr Jones said that there will be a time for serious reflection and decisions to be made if the company doesn't respond positively to the union.
In their argument before the Labour Court, SIPTU stated that it is noteworthy that there has been industrial peace on the site.
According to Covidien's case, the firm stated that it made a reasonable offer to the workers.
In its recommendation on the pay increase and ending of anniversary gifts, the Labour Court stated that the revised proposal should be accepted by both parties and communicated to members in a joint presentation by management and union.
Globally, Covidien employs 38,000 employees in more than 70 countries with revenues of $10.2bn recorded last year.
Covidien is officially based in Dublin but run from Mansfield, Massachusetts. The company is being bought by US medical device maker Medtronic.