Sunday 21 April 2019

Archaeologists to down trowels at Macroom bypass

Declan Malone

Archaeologists working on the route of the Macroom bypass have voted to down tools  over a pay dispute with their employer, Irish Archaeological Consultancy. The planned strike threatens to hold up construction work on the bypass, which already has a long history of delays for reasons ranging from the welfare of the Kerry Slug to the economic crash of 2007.

The planned strike on Wednesday July 4 follows a decision by Unite trade union members working for Irish Archaeological Consultancy (IAC) to take industrial action on foot of a pay claim. The stoppage in Macroom will be the first in a planned nationwide series of strikes by IAC workers.

The union claims that IAC, which has been contracted to carry out archaeological works on the N22 Macroom bypass, has refused to discuss their pay claim either directly or in the Workplace Relations Commission. The Corkman sought a comment from IAC but they had failed to respond by the time of going to press on Wednesday.

A Unite spokesperson said that eight of the union's archaeological branch members employed by IAC will be "downing trowels" at Bealick and Sliabh Riagh, as well as a small logistical facility near Cappagh West on July 4.  In addition, other Unite members working on the project will not pass the picket.

"IAC's revenues are growing at approximately 20 per cent per annum, yet some of the workers who have contributed to their outstanding success make only slightly above the living wage," said Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne. He added that workers felt they had no alternative but to take industrial action but their trade union would "remain available for meaningful discussions to resolve the dispute".