999 firm vows calls will be answered if staff go on strike
Members of the public have been assured that '999' emergency calls will still be answered if staff managing the phones go on strike.
BT Ireland, which is contracted to deliver the vital call answering service, said it had drawn up contingency plans after more than 60 workers began a ballot for industrial action.
The workers want management to start talks on improved pay, and review its disciplinary policy on suspensions and on-call services.
They also claim they are being treated like schoolchildren by having to ask permission to go to the toilet. The workers claim they are given only seven minutes for a toilet break and must seek permission if they need more time.
BT subcontracts the service to Conduit, which employs the telephone operators in three centres in Ballyshannon, Navan and Dublin.
"In the event of further threats by the Communications Workers' Union on ballots involving industrial action, we can confirm we have contingency plans in place to maintain what is a critical service for public safety," said a BT spokesman. He said operators were informed of minor changes to work practices last week, but denied telling them to report all toilet breaks.