Plumbers, fitters, welders vote for industrial action if pay is cut

Unite union seeking implementation of 2.7% pay rise under existing agreement

Plumbers, fitters and welders in the mechanical and construction sectors who are represented by the Unite trade union have voted unanimously to take industrial action if any employer seeks to reduce terms and conditions on foot of a High Court ruling in June that struck down sectoral employment orders.

The workers concerned are also seeking the implementation of a 2.7 per cent pay increase scheduled to come into effect from the beginning of September which formed part of an agreement reached last year.

Unite regional officer Tom Fitzgerald said on Tuesday: ""Employers have a simple choice: they can either abide by all agreed terms and conditions, including scheduled pay increases, or they can face determined industrial action."

“Our members’ position is very simple: What we have, we hold”.


Following the High Court ruling in June a number of trade unions in the construction sector including Unite, Siptu and Connect organised “protective” ballots for industrial action to take effect if employers sought to reduce pay and conditions on the basis that the collective sectoral employment order was invalid

In June in a case brought by electrical contractors, Mr Justice Garrett Simons struck down chapter three of the Industrial Relations Act 2015, which allowed for the making of sectoral employment orders setting pay and conditions in building and related industries.

Later in the summer, Mr Justice Simons last week stayed part of the ruling, relating to the pay and conditions of building workers and plumbers, pending the outcome of an appeal against his finding by the State.

The result s of “protective” ballots held by other union in the construction sector are due later in September.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent