Delay in ending FAS dispute criticised

 

THE Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has expressed "outrage" at the lack of progress in resolving a dispute involving industrial action by SIPTU members at FAS. It has meant delays in training courses for up to 400 apprentices.

A mediation panel, headed by the former president of ICTU, Mr Phil Flynn, has been set up, but there has been no breakthrough in negotiations.

"Training courses which had been agreed and scheduled not taken place and unless there is an immediate resolution of this internal FAS dispute the outlook for apprenticeship places in the industry in 1996 is bleak," Mr Peter McCabe, director business development at the CIF.

"Skills shortages, which will undoubtedly occur if this dispute is not resolved immediately, will do so, not because of any failure on the part of employers to take on new apprentices, but as a direct result of the non implementation of specific provisions of the PCW relating to new apprenticeship numbers.

"Because of the rapid decline in confidence in the ability of FAS to deliver agreed training programmes under a recognised national statutory training scheme, the industry has little option now but to begin consideration of alternative arrangements in order to fulfil its future skills requirements," he said.

FAS has expressed regret about the delays, adding it had appealed to the union to withdraw its action. Discussions between SIPTU and FAS management are continuing.