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Musgravestaff to stop work over new headsets

WORKERS at one of Ireland's oldest firms are preparing to go on strike today in a row over the introduction of computerised headsets for filling grocery orders.

Grocery giant Musgrave and SIPTU were engaged in 11th- hour negotiations last night to avoid pickets on the firm's major Cork warehouse today by 135 impacted staff.

The strike would be the first in the firm's 136-year history.

The row erupted between SIPTU and the retailer over the introduction of voice technology headsets at the firm's main Cork chill warehouse.

Such time-saving technology is now commonplace throughout Europe.

Technology

Workers -- who are all members of SIPTU -- accused the firm of reneging on agreements over the introduction of the new technology coupled with issues relating to wages and work rosters. Strike notice was served on the firm on April 12.

Musgraves pointed out that the same technology was already being used at three other facilities in Dublin and Cork.

Under a Labour Court settlement proposal, workers would receive a 5pc pay hike over three years for using the new technology -- or a reduction in Saturday/Sunday hours.

But SIPTU official Karan O'Loughlin said workers felt they had no alternative but to take the action due to the "company reneging on commitments in relation to their terms and conditions of employment".

Irish Independent