Union to seek pay increase of 5%

Mon, Nov 19, 2012, 00:00

The country’s largest craft trade union said it is to seek pay increases of at least 5 per cent for workers in profitable companies.

The general secretary of the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) Eamon Devoy said one of its main policies was to protect the living standards of members. He said given that inflation had returned to the economy, the only way this could be done was to seek wage increases.

The biennial conference of the union on Saturday overwhelmingly passed an emergency motion instructing the union to present “significant pay claims” in all profitable companies and sectors.

The motion said that these claims “should be for at least 5 per cent”. Minister for Enterprise and Jobs Richard Bruton said pay rises would be premature in parts of the economy as it had not yet overcome its problems with competitiveness.

Increased inflation

Mr Devoy said the union could not ignore the fact that inflation had increased by 4.6 per cent over the last two years.

“We are giving a green light to branches, shop stewards and officials around the country to say that if a company has the ability to pay we should pursue a claim. Instead of sitting back and saying nobody else is doing it, we are going to take a lead.”

In the debate on the emergency motion, TEEU regional secretary Pat Guilfoyle said the union wanted to send a clear message to the captains of industry, the politicians, the naysayers and those who wanted to bring the economy to a third-world situation that it would not stand by while this happened.

“We are going to follow this pay increase, we are going to do everything and put all the resources of the union to support this claim. This is a rallying cry, this is a call to arms. We have made our contribution. We are saying: where is our money? We are turning this economy around. We are the ones contributing to the export industry. We want money generated in this economy so that by paying us the increases we can spend that money in the local economy and therefore save jobs in the rest of the economy.”

Asked on his arrival at the conference about the pay claims, Mr Bruton said: “Looking at the economy’s position, we are creating jobs in some sectors, but most people’s concern is hanging on to jobs. I think it is too early to think that our competitiveness challenges have been resolved. We have a lot more to do before we can see an employer or sector that will create long-term, high- quality jobs.