Saturday 18 November 2017

Kingspan workers to strike over company's survival plan

Patricia McDonagh

MORE than 100 staff at the building materials giant Kingspan are to stage a strike in protest at a survival plan put forward by the firm.

Last night, SIPTU gave the company, which is based in Kingscourt, Co Cavan, two weeks notice of industrial action on February 9.

Workers insist the plan, which aims to increase competitiveness and reduce labour costs, will see them hit with poorer terms of employment.

The Labour Court backed the 10-point document after a series of talks between unions and management last year.

And the cost-cutting measures contained in it were implemented on January 18.

However the court's recommendation was overwhelmingly rejected by workers at the firm and they balloted for strike action last Tuesday.

They argued the plan denies workers their annual bonus, flexi-time and overtime payments.

The also insisted it creates a two-tiered system by paying new entrants to the company minimum wage.

The move by SIPTU comes in the wake of more than 200 redundancies at the plant which has been on short-time working, of two or three days, for the past two years.

"Our members have suffered already as a result of mass redundancies, have been reduced from a four-shift production cycle to day work only and have been on short-time working over the last 24 months," said SIPTU branch organiser Declan Ferry.

"This is the final straw that broke the camel's back. Our members have been left with no choice but to undertake strike/industrial action as a result of the company drastically reducing their terms and conditions of employment."

He pointed out that in its 2008 financial statements the company reported an operating profit of €157.1m.

However, a spokesman for the company said the plan would have to be implemented if the company, which accounts for 3pc of all worldwide sales, was to remain viable.

Irish Independent

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