Union urges 600,000 to boycott waste firm over 'lockout'
MORE than 600,000 workers and their families will today be asked to stop doing business with Greyhound Household Ltd.
The leader of the country's largest union will ask all unions affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) to boycott the waste-disposal firm at a meeting of a senior committee.
SIPTU leader Jack O'Connor condemned Greyhound chief executive Michael Buckley for claiming that agency workers he hired in were doing a better job than more than 70 "locked out" staff.
"That's what I would expect Mr Buckley to say," he said, ahead of a protest march by workers to Dublin City Hall yesterday.
"What I think he's done is galvanised trade union members. There's one thing about Mr Buckley anyway, and that's that he is becoming famous in the same way that William Martin Murphy became famous over 100 years ago.
"If that's the way he wants to go, we'll take him on. What's happening here is coming to a workplace near you pretty soon."
However, Mr Buckley yesterday said the pay cut was necessary so the company could compete with market rates paid by rivals. He claimed staff would still earn 10pc more than the industry average after taking the pay cut.
Mr O'Connor said he would ask the executive council of the ICTU to spearhead a campaign against the company unless this "aggression" stopped.
Mr O'Connor gave a rousing speech in Liberty Hall ahead of a march by the workers to City Hall, where nationalist ballads were sung by the late Luke Kelly's brother Jimmy.
In a letter to Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, Mr O'Connor called for the creation of a task force to examine employment conditions in the waste disposal industry.
In a statement, Greyhound rejected the SIPTU leader's comments that collection staff have been locked out of their jobs.
"The collection crews refused to work after rejecting a Labour Court recommendation regarding legacy pay and conditions that are completely out of kilter with industry standards.
"This was the culmination of four months of intensive negotiations at local level; at the Labour Relations Commission and at the Labour Court," the statement read.
The company also rejected his comments about the use of agency crews.
"The fact is that productivity has increased by 25pc through the deployment of agency staff, with routes being completed on time, every time," it said.
It called on Mr O'Connor "to recognise the industrial relations organs of the State and use his offices to persuade the collection crews to come back to work to allow both parties to return to the Labour Court for a binding determination".