Friday 24 January 2020

Bord Gais staff vote to strike over allowances

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

BORD Gais customers face the prospect of disruption after workers backed strike action following cuts to their allowances and overtime.

Voting began last Friday after management at the semi-state company imposed the cuts after talks broke down.

The ballot results come just a week after it emerged that the Government plans to sell off the company's retail arm, which employs 485 staff.

A total of 65pc staff voted in favour of strike action, with 35pc against; while 80pc backed industrial action, with 20pc against, in two separate ballots.

No details have yet been decided on how any strike action might play out, or what impact it would have on services.

Workers would need to give seven days notice before walking out. Talks to achieve cuts of over €8.5m in payroll costs collapsed earlier in the year.

It is understood that unions have refused to negotiate on another plan to freeze increments and gradually bring in market pay rates.

The new system would also link pay rises to performance.

Sources said management threatened that pay cuts of around 7.5pc would have to be considered it if did not make savings.

They said only 50 to 60 staff were affected by the cuts to allowances and overtime, which the company said had become obsolete.

The union group, including SIPTU, Unite and TEEU, are opposing the cuts because they claim they breach an agreement with management.

A Bord Gais spokesman said: "We are confident a resolution can be found."

Irish Independent

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