Ex-Tipperary Water staff to protest

Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 01:00

Ten former workers at Tipperary Natural Mineral Water will protest outside its Dublin distribution plant tomorrow morning, saying they were made forcibly redundant for joining a trade-union.

David Whelan, Siptu member and former shop-steward at the plant, said he had worked there for four years as a fork-lift operator.

“Over the last few years the management had been making deductions and cuts to our wages, saying the company was losing money.”

The latest accounts for the company. M&J Gleeson (Investments) Ltd, show it had a turnover last year of €261 million and profits of €4.7 million. In 2010 the company had a profit of €4.5 million.

As well as bottling and distributing mineral water the company manufactures soft drinks, freeze pops, cider, cream liqueurs and is involved in wholesale distribution of the products.

Mr Whelan said he and 16 colleagues joined Siptu in an effort to secure negotiations with management over the perceived unfairness of the pay cuts. “About four weeks ago, of 17 members of Siptu 13 were made redundant.”

He said while three of the redundancies were voluntary ten workers were dismissed on the grounds that they were not sufficiently skilled.

“He said I had no skills and I was working there four years. At the same time a lad working there three months was kept on.” Ten temporary staff were taken on days after the redundancies, said Mr Whelan.

Asked whether Siptu made representations on their behalf, he said: “Management just wouldn’t engage with Siptu, just ignored Siptu. I have no doubt in my mind that the reason we were sacked was because we joined Siptu.”

Local councillor, Bríd Smith (People Before Profit) and Aengus Ó Snodaigh, TD (Sinn Féin) will be among those supporting the workers at the protest outside the Tipperary Water plant in Ballyfermot.

Calls to Tipperary Natural Mineral Water were not returned today.

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