Thursday 20 July 2017

Talks on €140m ESB payroll cuts begin

Anne-Marie Walsh and Fionnan Sheahan

THE Government last night rejected criticism of its decision to sell off part of the ESB.

Sinn Fein called on the Government to tell the IMF-EU that it would rescind its commitment to selling off State assets.

But Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte dismissed the opposition party's claims.

Meanwhile, talks between the four-union group and the ESB began yesterday on payroll cuts of €140m.

It was the first meeting of the unions since the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union split from the umbrella body last week after the group's secretary Brendan Ogle described members as "spoilt".

Sources said its decision to suspend its membership had little impact at the meeting with management as the union agreed to sit with other members of the group -- UNITE, SIPTU, UCATT and the ESB officers Association.

But sources said the split is likely to cause problems in the "long term" at the talks if the rift is not healed.

UNITE, which is Mr Ogle's union, has announced it will ballot for industrial action over the government decision.

But the TEEU has ruled out a ballot, with general secretary Eamon Devoy warning against "knee jerk" reactions.

This provoked an angry reaction from UNITE, which said it was implementing a motion -- put forward by the TEEU -- that was passed unanimously by representatives of all ESB workers last July.

Irish Independent

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