Saturday 19 October 2019

Crane strike threat looms as operators demand pay rises of up to 15pc

(Stock Photo)
(Stock Photo)

Anne-Marie Walsh

THE threat of cranes lying idle is on the horizon.

Crane operators have served notice of strike action in pursuit of pay rises worth up to 15per cent.

Unite, which represents over 90pc of the country's crane operators, is planning a series of strikes in the next few weeks.

Unite represents 180 crane operators, most of whom work in Dublin.

Its members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the industrial action in pursuit of pay rises lodged with employers at the end of April.

The claim for a pay rise comes as the construction industry has rebounded in the last few years after collapsing when the property bubble burst.

The union said construction growth has hit a 15 month high and activity in the sector has risen in each of the last 45 months.

Regional Organiser for Construction, Tom Fitzgerald, said the Construction Industry Federation has to "engage meaningfully" in relation to the pay claim.

He said around 77pc of members turned out to ballot, with over 90pc voting for industrial action.

"That is a massive mandate, and reflects our members’ growing frustration at the lack of engagement with the Construction Industry Federation, especially at a time when the construction sector is booming," he said.

"Construction workers are demanding that they share fully in the construction recovery.

"Unless employers come to the table and engage meaningfully with Unite and our members, there is a very real risk of idle cranes on the skyline – and an idle crane means an idle building site."

A spokesperson for the Construction Industry Federation was not available for comment.

Separately, construction unions will attend the Labour Court next week after the Construction Industry Federation applied for a sectoral employment order to govern pay and conditions in the sector.

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