Strike at 999 centre takes place over pay dispute

Workers are seeking pay increase to bring them to a ‘living wage standard’

Staff at a 999 centre in Navan are staging a 12-hour strike on Thursday in an industrial dispute over pay.

The second stoppage in as many weeks, which started at 8am and will continue until 8pm, comes as workers pursue a claim for a 50 cent per hour pay increase to bring them to a “living wage standard”.

Staff at the 999 call centre provide "a vital service that is not vital enough to be paid a living wage" said the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

But BT/Conduit Global, which runs the service, criticised the action as "irresponsible, unnecessary and unjustified".


BT said said it would have contingencies in place "to ensure no disruption to this service in the face of strike action by a very small number of union members.

“We will continue to work closely with Conduit Global, the employer of the operators, as they make significant positive changes within their organisation.

“We reiterate that this industrial action is highly irresponsible, unnecessary and unjustified. The CWU’s actions demonstrate how little respect they have for an emergency service that is vital to the country and its citizens in times of crises.”

Head of organising for CWU Ian McArdle, said Conduit Global had refused to meet with the Workplace Relations Commission.

Conduit claim that the staff already earn a ‘living wage’ and in the past week agreed an ‘on-call’ payment.

However, speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr McArdle said that staff wage slips show that their pay is € 11 per hour while the 'living wage' is € 11.50 per hour.

Thursday’s strike starts a month of industrial action that sees unionised staff withdraw “lead operator” services. This means the staff will work but will not perform extra operationsal support duties which carry an additional financial allowance of €1 an hour.

The three centres in Meath, Dublin and Donegal employ a total of 60 members of staff, with 20 members in each station. A CWU spokesman said a significant number of workers are unionised and that the majority of the staff at the Navan centre are members of the union.

Three to four members of staff work a single 12-hour shift and the spokesman added that the stoppages have been planned in such a way as to not disrupt the service – if a member of the public rings 999 they will get through as normal.