Sunday 25 September 2016

999 emergency call centre to stage second 12-hour strike in two weeks time

Geraldine Gittens

Published 23/03/2016 | 14:53

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

999 emergency call operators will stage a second 12-hour strike in Navan in two weeks time as part of their campaign for a living wage and trade union recognition.

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The Communications Workers' Union (CWU), which represents the call centre workers, confirmed that the industrial action will take place on Thursday, April 7 at the Navan call centre in Co Meath.

Union members across all three emergency call centres (ECAS) in Ballyshannon, Dublin and Navan will also be withdrawing extra duties outside of their contracts of employment for one month from April 8 to May 8 inclusive, CWU said.

The additional duties include designated lead call centre operators who have additional duties for the delivery of the national emergency call service during their shift.

“Despite a 12-hour strike which took place on Thursday February 25 last - the day before the general election – BT/Conduit Global are continuing to refuse to meet with the CWU or concede a living wage of €11.50 per hour for 999 call operators,” the union said in a statement today.

CWU General Secretary, Steve Fitzpatrick, has called on BT/Conduit Global to avoid an escalation of industrial action by engaging directly with the CWU.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “BT/Conduit’s intransigence during this dispute and their recklessness towards the 999 call service has forced our members into taking further industrial action just to achieve minimum acceptable standards in their workplace.

“It’s beyond belief that two profitable multinational corporations are unable to find the money to give low-paid workers who do an important and stressful job an extra 50 cent per hour. These corporations engage constructively with unions in their operations elsewhere yet are refusing to respect the wishes of workers in the 999 call service here to be represented by their union, the CWU.

He added: “This action can be avoided if BT/Conduit engage constructively with the CWU. We have told BT/Conduit that we are prepared to deal with them directly or under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission. We hope they take us up on that offer.”

Conduit Global has said it "strongly regrets" the decision by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) to take industrial action.

"Conduit Global's employees have represented themselves in successfully driving continuous improvement during recent rounds of consultation."

"In light of the resolution of so many concerns, it appears that the CWU is choosing to place its own interests over critical public services.  The majority of the 999 employees are not members of the CWU and are instead committed to direct engagement with us, and to the safety and security of Irish citizens."

"We strongly urge the CWU to recognise the positive steps that have been taken and reconsider its decision to take industrial action."

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