Workers in struggle

Lloyd’s refuse to attend the Labour Court

At the Labour Court on 26 April the employees’ union, Mandate, presented the case for all Lloyd’s Pharmacy workers to receive improvements to their terms and conditions of employment. Mandate’s submission includes demands for:

  • A pay increase of 3.4 per cent, backdated to 1 April 2019 for twelve months
  • The establishment of transparent incremental pay scales for all grades, in line with those of Boot’s Pharmacy
  • Improvements to the sickness pay scheme from the present four days to twenty-five days
  • Improvements in annual leave entitlement from the present maximum of twenty-two days up to twenty-nine (in line with Boot’s)
  • Improvements to public holiday and Sunday premium payments from time and a third to time and a half.

The company’s management did not attend the hearing, which Mandate’s assistant general secretary, Gerry Light, said exposed their attitude towards their own workers and to the state’s industrial relations machinery. “Unfortunately,” he said, “yet again Lloyd’s Pharmacy management have attempted to deny their workers their basic human right to be represented by a trade union of their choice for collective bargaining purposes.”

SIPTU members in Coca-Cola to consider industrial action

SIPTU representatives confirmed on 24 April that members working in Coca-Cola are considering industrial action as part of a campaign to secure collective bargaining rights at the company’s plant in Ballina, Co. Mayo.

The dispute centres on two Labour Court recommendations that found in favour of SIPTU’s claim for negotiation rights for workers who are members of the union.

SIPTU members to take strike action at Boxmore Plastics

SIPTU members at the Boxmore Plastics Ltd plant in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, are to take strike action on Wednesday 8 May as a result of the company’s refusal to grant a pay increase as recommended by the Labour Court.

This follows a vote by SIPTU members in the general operative, maintenance and team-leader grades at the plant in favour of strike action and industrial action.

Unite responds to Bombardier’s announced closure

The Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier has announced a plan to sell its aero-structures business in Belfast. The company said it wants to combine its corporate and regional jet units into a single aviation unit and to shed more “non-core assets” by selling off its Belfast and Moroccan businesses. The company said it will concentrate its aero-structures activities in Montréal and Mexico and its newly acquired Global 7500 business jet wing operations in Texas.

Shareholders are worried that the company may not meet its declared profit margins and generate $20 billion in income anticipated for 2020. So the workers must pay a heavy price to satisfy shareholders’ greed.

The company claims that its railway division should generate $10 billion next year (created by workers), and that this is crucial to Bombardier’s five-year turnaround plan. They claim that heavy investment in aircraft production drove it to the brink of bankruptcy in 2015.

Unite, which represents the majority of workers, expressed a hope that any new owner will make a commitment to local production and bring forward expanded investment. It is seeking assurances from Bombardier and from the British government on this process of the sale.

Bombardier workers in the north of Ireland are among the most highly skilled workers in the industry globally.

The Unite statement went on to say: “Whoever the buyer is there’s an undeniable case for investment to not only sustain but expand production and employment into the future.”