Striking Greyhound workers enter talks with company

Decision on company’s application over blocking vehicles adjourned

Greyhound Waste Recycling and more than 50 striking workers are to engage in week-long talks in an effort to resolve all issues between them arising from the company's imposition of pay cuts exceeding 30 per cent, the High Court has heard.

On that basis, Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon today agreed to adjourn for one week an application by the company which could have resulted in attachment of property and some strikers being jailed over alleged contempt of court orders, granted last June, preventing an alleged illegal blockade of the company's plant at Clondalkin, Dublin.

Reading an agreed statement this afternoon, reached after talks between the sides earlier, Louis McEntaggart BL, for Greyhound, said both sides had agreed the case should be adjourned for a week.

The adjournment was for the purpose of detailed discussions with a view to resolving all matters, counsel said. There had been constructive engagement but he wished to say no more, counsel added.

William Hamilton BL, for more than 50 striking workers and their trade union, Siptu, said he absolutely agreed with what was said but he also did not wish to say anything further at this stage.

Ms Justice O’Hanlon thanked the sides for approaching the matter in a constructive way and said she appreciated it was very difficult for all concerned. She expressed hope there would be a positive resolution of the dispute and said she would, as requested, adjourn the matter against all respondents for one week.

Yesterday’s development came after 57 out of the 78 striking workers voted this week to reject the company’s terms for resolution of the dispute, which began last June. Those terms included pay cuts of about 31 per cent, rather than some 35 per cent, and three and a half weeks redundancy pay.

When the case came before the judge earlier yesteerday at 11pm, she urged both sides to “think positively and get talking” and adjourned it to 2pm when she was asked to allow the sides another hour to discuss matters. At 3pm, the judge was told of the agreement to adjourn the matter for a week for detailed talks.

At 11am, Mr McEntaggart said the dispute meant some 255,000 people in the Dublin area were not having their waste collected and public health issues were involved.

The company has alleged contempt of court orders initially granted last June restraining interference with entry and exit from the Greyhound plant. Its owner Michael Buckley claimed this week the company could face closure with the loss of 400 jobs after most of the strikers rejected as “derisory” its proposals to end the dispute.

Mr Hamilton had earlier today initially sought a short adjournment to allow his side file replying affidavits and faciliate possible talks aimed at a possible further referral of the matter to the Labour Relations Commission.

Greyhound was seeking orders of an “extreme and serious nature” which could lead to very serious consequences for his side, counsel said. There was a “bigger picture” to the matter as it involved a trade disputer which the court could not settle and which involved the State’s industrial relations machinery.

He wanted an opportunity to discuss the matter with his clients, who had been preoccupied with dealing with proposals made by the company, counsel added.

The courtroom was packed with Greyhound workers and their supporters, including Independent TDs Joan Collins, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, plus Joe Higgins and Paul Murphy of the Socialist Party and People Before Profgit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.