Electricians’ union warns of ‘war’ over pay agreement

Move follows High Court finding that parts of industrial relations law is unconstitutional

 Tuesday’s ruling concerned a sectoral employment order in the electrical industry. Photograph: iStock

Tuesday’s ruling concerned a sectoral employment order in the electrical industry. Photograph: iStock

 

The Connect trade union has warned employers of “war” if they fail to honour agreements on pay and pensions in construction, mechanical and electrical sectors.

This follows the decision of the High Court to find key elements of industrial relations legislation to be unconstitutional.

Connect general secretary Paddy Kavanagh, said: “We will take stringent action against any employer who seeks to utilise Tuesday’s High Court decision deeming current sectoral employment orders (SEOs) and Part 3 of the Industrial Relations Amendment Act 2015 as ‘unconstitutional’ to break agreements involving our members’ remuneration and pension provision.”

Describing Connect as Ireland’s largest craft and construction trade union, he said: “Employers are now on notice that we will consider an attack on any one sector or worker in that sector an attack on all.”

Mr Kavanagh said the executive of the union will meet on Thursday to consider developments and develop a strategy “which will include the potential for a national ballot for protective action”.

“Connect trade union has written to all stakeholders in each of the three sectors involved, stating that all contractors and client sites throughout Ireland must continue to honour existing agreements. We have clearly warned them that if this does not happen it will end the industrial peace, which benefits us all at this time, and instead result in the beginning of an industrial war we are confident of winning.”

Appeal

Earlier the Unite trade union said the Government must seek a stay on the High Court decision pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday the High Court found the Minister for Business and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, had acted outside her powers in purporting to make a sectoral employment order in the electrical industry.

Unite trade union regional officer Tom Fitzgerald maintained the ruling “posed a significant threat to Ireland’s economic recovery”. He said Unite “would use all means at its disposal to protect and advance workers’ interests”.