Publication of the Final Report of the LEEF High-Level Working Group on Collective Bargaining

Publication of the Final Report of the LEEF High-Level Working Group on Collective Bargaining

The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD and the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD have today announced the publication of the Final Report of the LEEF High-Level Working Group on Collective Bargaining. The High-Level Working Group was formed in March 2021 to review the collective bargaining landscape in Ireland and to make recommendations for improvement.

 

See conclusions from Page 27:

 

7. Conclusions
The Group considers this report to contain a package of recommendations, which, if implemented in
full, will improve the functioning of collective bargaining, and will improve the industrial relations
landscape in Ireland. The recommendations will also ensure Ireland is well placed to fulfil upcoming
EU law obligations, in a meaningful way, and in the context of a genuine tripartite approach, which
respects the autonomy of the social partners.

The Group recommends that the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report
by subject to formal, and ongoing, review. The Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) will
continue to provide a structure for tripartite dialogue, between Government, Employers, Trade
Unions, on economic and employment issues as they affect labour relations. In this context, the
Group recommends that the LEEF should oversee implementation of the recommendations
contained in this report, including formal review of their impact. It should also provide a forum for
tripartite consideration of related workplace issues, including, aspects of the proposed EU Directive
not addressed by the Group in this report

The bargaining power of workers has declined strongly in the Euro zone since the 1980s

The bargaining power of workers has declined strongly in the Euro zone since the 1980s Wage share & trade union density have fallen & profit share has increased The fall in Union density Is inextricably linked to falling wage share & rising profits

 

TIME TO JOIN A UNION AND AGITATE.

 

 

Strike action begins in care services

One day strike action today by Fórsa members at St. Josephs Foundation in Charleville, Co. Cork

Unions step up action for improved funding and pay in State funded agencies

Fórsa trade union members at St. Josephs Foundation in Charleville, Co. Cork are taking strike action today as a series of three consecutive one-day strike actions commences today (Wednesday) in community and voluntary sector agencies.

St. Joseph’s Foundation provides a range of services and supports for people with disabilities, and is the lead agency for the two North Cork Children disability Network (CDN) teams.

The strike action today forms part of the ICTU-led Valuing Care, Valuing Community campaign.

The campaign aims to achieve improved terms and conditions of employment for health and social care professionals and other staff employed in agencies funded by the HSE and other State bodies, where staff are employed on lower pay and lesser conditions than equivalent grades in the HSE and other agencies.

 

CWU Workers on Strike

 

Over 150,000 strike on historic day for our union – region by region

Members in Royal Mail, BT, Openreach and Parcelforce walk out right across the country in the CWU’s biggest ever action…

Delivery, processing, network and engineering services, distribution, vehicle repair, plant maintenance and admin at two of the UK’s largest companies were hugely impacted in every corner of the country today as pickets were deployed from the early hours of the morning until late in the evening. Strikers were in good humour and high spirits, as well as disciplined and determined, united in standing up and standing together in the fight for a fair deal on pay.
Our general secretary Dave Ward staunchly defended our members, praising them for their public service, insisting that the strike action was absolutely necessary and had been effectively forced on the union by stubborn and arrogant leaderships in both Royal Mail Group and BT Group and vowed that the CWU would continue the fight and would prevail.
“Today was an historic day for the CWU – the first time we’ve ever taken simultaneous strike action virtually right across our membership. And our members have responded magnificently in every city, town and village of the UK.
“Now the ball is in the employers’ court. They need to respond positively and make real efforts to settle these disputes. We have further action planned for next week in Royal Mail and our industrial executive on the telecoms & financial services side of the union will be meeting to discuss their next steps with BT Group.
“If the employers continue in their stubborn stance, the only outcome will be further action in both companies and let them be in no doubt as to the determination and unity of purpose of this union and our members.
“Once again to our members a massive thank you, huge admiration and respect – you deserve better and we will keep up the fight.”
CWU deputy general secretary postal Terry Pullinger said that it was “the honour of my life to represent these people today,” and our deputy general secretary telecoms & financial service Andy Kerr insisted: “Our members want a pay rise and want it now” on the day that workers across these two companies took strike action on the same day for the first time ever.

Six Counties
Both Andy and Terry addressed a lively rally outside Belfast’s City Hall, Terry saying that the key worker heroes were now being “treated like zeroes by their employers,” and reminding the audience of how Royal Mail workers had turned around the company’s fortunes over recent years through their hard work and adaptability to change, but were now being told that the company could not afford a fair pay rise – although, he pointed out: “Over £700 million since July 2021 has been given to shareholders and senior managers have given themselves massive pay rises.
“They’ve had their heads in the trough,” he said and went onto criticise the business for “walking away from” the Pathway to Change agreement that was “just over a year old” and described the current dispute as being “about honour and integrity against people who’ve got none.”
In his speech to the rally, Andy Kerr made similar criticisms of the BT Group leadership and refuted senior management claims of not being able to afford a fair pay deal.
“This company cannot tell me they can’t afford a pay rise,” he insisted, adding: “This company made £1.3 billion profit last year. But they’re ‘skint’? This company can afford to give £761m to their shareholders. But they’re ‘skint’?


Andy talked of how he had been involved in the action the last time that BT workers went on strike back in 1987 and challenged the company’s bosses to a public debate on the question of affordability. “If they want that debate, then bring it on,” he said and suggested: “If they gave just 10 per cent of that £761m dividend to the workers, this dispute would be over tomorrow morning.”
Speaking to CWU News afterwards, Northern Ireland CWU secretary Erin Massey said: “It was fantastic to get Andy and Terry here to Belfast today and there were hundreds who turned up – mostly our members, but also other workers and the general public. We reckon there were around 300 or so and there were other speakers too, from NIPSA, Unite and the Belfast Trade Union Council. There was so much support and solidarity.”
The strike call had been strongly supported everywhere, Erin continued, explaining that she had visited the mail centre in the morning and had also received positive reports from picket lines all over Northern Ireland.
“It’s been a great day today and our members have responded superbly – and the weather’s stayed nice as well.”

 

 

The Judiciary are no friends of the working Class- Court action from three security companies blocks planned pay rise for guards

 

The High Court has blocked the Minister of State for Employment, Damien English, from introducing pay increases for 16,000 workers in the security industry from next Monday.

Barrister Eoin O’Shea told Ms Justice Nuala Butler that the Minister had signalled by way of a press release on 3 August his intention to commence an Employment Regulation Order to increase pay for security guards.

Mr O’Shea, who appeared with Tom Casey Solicitors for three security companies, was granted leave on behalf of Top Security, Morbury and Las Security to challenge by way of judicial review the minister’s decision and the proposals of the Labour Court.

Ms Butler said the court had been satisfied from the evidence to grant leave and order a stay restraining the minister from signing any proposed new employment regulation order providing a new minimum rate of pay of €12.50 an hour and an increased minimum of €12.90 per hour from 1 February next.

Mr O’Shea said the applicants were companies involved in the provision of security and guarding services in the Irish market which involved the provision of security staff for Irish clients including round-the-clock manned services.

He said the number of companies engaged in the provision of static guards services was in decline, having fallen from 214 companies in 2014 to 184 companies in 2020.

Instead, clients were turning to non-static technology solution companies which had more than doubled to over 1,000 in the same period.

Ms Butler heard the Industrial Relations Amendment Act provided for the establishment of Joint Labour Committees to provide machinery for submitting proposals to the Labour Court for the adoption by the minister of an Employment Regulation Order.

Mr O’Shea told the court that such committees were composed of union representatives and, on the employer side in this case, mainly members from the larger security firms to promote harmonious relations between workers and employers and to avoid industrial unrest.

He said the Joint Labour Committee, when it had formulated proposals for a regulation order, was bound to publish notice of that order and seek written representations within 21 days of its publication.

He said his clients had twice asked for a copy of the Labour Court’s recommendations to the minister but had not received any prior to the ministerial press release.

He told the court that the Industrial Relations Amendment Act provided that an employer who did not pay the minimum rates as laid out in an Employment Regulation Order or apply other employment conditions, such as for holidays and overtime, was guilty of a criminal offence.

Mr O’Shea said the three applicant companies considered that the Joint Labour Committee process supported the interests of the big rather than the smaller employer, produced an anti-competitive outcome and tended to reduce employment in the industry by encouraging clients to turn to cheaper technology solutions and fewer static guards.

Ms Butler, granting the injunction and staying the introduction of the new regulations, adjourned the judicial review proceedings until early November.

Fair Employment Bill 2022 Launch

WFTU Solidarity statement with the Indonesia strike against anti-labor policy

The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing more than 105 million workers from 133 countries of the 5 continents salutes the massive strike and demonstration organized by workers, students, farmers, and popular strata in Jakarta, Indonesia against the anti-people and anti-labor policies of the Indonesian government on August 10th, 2022.

The international class-oriented trade union movement joins its voice with the WFTU affiliates and the trade union movement in Indonesia demanding withdrawal of the Omnibuslaw, P3 Laws and canceling of the RKUHP Laws as well the canceling of the SISDIKNNAS laws revision.  We also demand effective measures against the rise of basic necessities prices and respect for democratic and trade union freedoms.

 

Unions support Colombian rights

Fórsa has written to the newly elected Colombian government to express support for its political programme and emphasise the union’s continued commitment to supporting implementation of the 2016 peace agreement.

In a letter addressed to President Gustavo Petro and Vice-President Francia Márquez, a group of British and Irish unions representing over 6.5 million workers, welcomed policies which contained “the potential for change that could see significant steps away from the violence and deep-rooted inequality that has affected Colombia for so long.”

The Justice for Colombia union coalition congratulated Colombian president Gustavo Petro and vice-president Francia Márquez on their hard-won victory. Their Historic Pact coalition brought together a broad front of progressive parties, and received strong backing from young people, women, ethnic minorities, trade unions and the pro-peace movement.

Justice for Colombia also welcomed the new Government’s commitments on labour rights, human rights and peace.

 

Justice for Colombia also welcomed the new Government’s commitments on labour rights, human rights and peace. The country’s first progressive administration has pledged to invest in society, to protect human rights and the environment, and to support the 2016 peace agreement.

The Historic Pact Government entered office on 7th August and will govern until 2026.

For two decades, Justice for Colombia has taken international delegations of trade unionists and parliamentarians to witness the reality in Colombia and to build international support for those working towards peace and social justice in the country.

Read the full letter here. https://justiceforcolombia.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Trade-Union-Letter-for-Petro-and-Marquez.pdf

Workers’ rights need to be addressed, warns IHREC

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is warning that workers’ rights in Ireland need to be addressed.

In a report to the Council of Europe, the IHREC said it is concerned about inadequate protections for workers, discriminatory policies that affect disabled employees and the prevalence of discrimination and sexual harassment in the labour market.

The commission said the failure to acknowledge the social and economic value of care work, mainly provided by women, has led to low pay and conditions.

The report highlights that trade unions have no legislative right to be recognised in the workplace for collective bargaining purposes.

It also finds that the Government has not yet accepted several provisions of the Revised European Social Charter, a binding human rights treaty that Ireland ratified in 2000.

These include the rights of employed mothers to sufficient time off to breastfeed, the rights of workers to be consulted on decisions which affect their employment and responsibilities linked to childcare and housing.

The IHREC is calling on the Government to protect economic, social and cultural rights in Irish domestic law by incorporating them at a constitutional level.

“No one should suffer discrimination due to their economic or social situation, yet we see this happen daily throughout the country,” said Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

“It is vital that the State steps up and delivers on its commitments to all people working to earn a living,” she added.

Dunnes workers lodge life-changing pay claim

UNION SEEKS MINIMUM 7.7% PAY INCREASE FOR ALL WORKERS

Dunnes Stores workers today lodged a pay claim with the company seeking significant pay increases, additional annual leave days, improvements to the staff discount scheme and the creation of full-time jobs.

Citing increased living costs and the positive contribution of staff to the business during the pandemic, the workers say they should be rewarded fairly for the work they do.

“Workers all over the country are struggling right now, yet many employers, like Dunnes Stores, are capable of paying higher wages and improving conditions of employment. Those that can pay, should pay,” said Patrick Killeen, Dunnes worker from Mayo and member of Mandate Trade Union’s Dunnes National Committee.

“What we want is a brand new pay scale for all Dunnes Stores workers which provides a decent standard of living and rewards us for our loyalty and experience,” added Killeen.

If successful, this new pay scale would provide those on the lowest point of the pay scale with a 7.7 percent hourly pay increase and those on the top with 7.9 percent increase.

“We believe this is reasonable given inflation is currently running at more than 9 percent,” said Killeen.

Mandate’s National Coordinator Lorraine O’Brien explained:

“There are multiple pay scales in Dunnes Stores where some workers are on higher wages than others for doing the exact same job. We want to harmonise the pay and benefits for all Dunnes workers but we want to ensure pay equality is done in a way that brings the lowest earners up to the top.”

NEW PAY & ANNUAL LEAVE INCREMENTS

Service Rate of pay Annual Leave
 Year 1  €13.30ph  21 Days
 Year 2  €14.00ph  22 Days
 Year 3  €14.75ph  23 Days
 Year 4  €15.50ph  24 Days
 Year 5  €16.25ph  25 Days
Year 6  €17.75ph 25 Days
Year 10  €19.75ph 25 Days

The pay claim has been formed following extensive consultation with Dunnes workers, including a survey of more than 1600 staff.

Some of the key results include:

  • 92% said if hours become available they should be offered to existing staff first.
  • Nine out of ten workers agreed that additional annual leave should be provided.
  • 87% said understaffing is an issue in their store.
  • 79% say all workers should have access to the same incremental pay scale.
  • When asked whether they felt they were being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve 65% said no, and only one in five said yes.
  • 51% of post-2007 staff said they want to work additional hours.

“The allocation of hours and understaffing are serious concerns for Dunnes workers. Many of us want to work longer hours because we can’t pay our bills, but the company won’t allow us, choosing to either understaff stores, which leads to huge pressure on staff, which in turn leads to health and safety concerns, or else they hire more workers on lower rates of pay,” said Alex Homits, Dunnes worker and Mandate activist from Dublin.

The workers are also seeking changes to the sick pay scheme.

Alex explained: “We’re still in the midst of a pandemic which has changed how we should look at things like sick pay. Dunnes workers and tens of thousands of other shop workers risked their lives and their health over the last two years and the least we should get is a decent sick pay scheme.”

He added: “Right now thousands of workers are forced to come to work with illnesses because of financial necessity. That’s not good for the worker, their families or our customers who often pick up the illnesses we have. We want an 8 week paid sick pay scheme and all staff should have access to this after their 6 month probation.”

Another item on the Dunnes workers’ pay claim is fully paid maternity and paternity leave.

“With the cost of energy, rents, house prices and everything else going up so much in recent months, it is impossible to survive without fully paid maternity leave. If workers don’t have enough income when on maternity or paternity leave, not only do they suffer, but their children suffer too,” said Liz Loftus, Dunnes worker from Dublin and Mandate activist.

MEETING

A national meeting open to all Dunnes Stores workers will take place online on Tuesday August 23rd at 8pm for 1 hour. The purpose of the meeting is to outline the results of our recent Dunnes workers survey and to give a briefing on your new pay and benefits claim which Mandate has lodged with the company on behalf of our members. If you wish to attend please input your details below to register.

FULL DUNNES PAY & BENEFITS CLAIM 2022

1. Fair Pay & Annual Leave

Create one equal pay scale for all Dunnes workers with access to top point after 10 year’s service. Additional annual leave entitlements based on service with the company.

 Service Rate of pay Annual Leave
 Year 1  €13.30ph  21 Days
 Year 2  €14.00ph  22 Days
 Year 3  €14.75ph  23 Days
 Year 4  €15.50ph  24 Days
 Year 5  €16.25ph  25 Days
Year 6  €17.75ph 25 Days
Year 10  €19.75ph 25 Days
  • Minimum unsocial hours rate (10pm-8am) of Time +1/2
  • Minimum public holiday rate of Time +1/2 (and an additional day’s pay

* After 25 years’ service Dunnes workers continue to receive an extra week of annual leave bringing their total to 30 days.

2. Privilege card

Remove monthly limit (€1,000) on staff discount card.

3. Sick pay

8 weeks paid sick leave and all staff to have access to sick pay after their 6 month probation.

4. Full Time Jobs & Allocation of Hours

The opportunity for Dunnes workers to obtain full time jobs. Additional hours should be offered on a fair and equitable basis to existing staff before hiring new workers.

5. Fair Scheduling

Fairer scheduling for a better work/life balance. All Dunnes workers to receive a four week roster with changes only through mutual agreement. One weekend off in every four. More flexibility from Management with day off requests. A workplace with safe and adequate staffing levels.

6.Maternity/Paternity/Parental leave/Parent’s leave

All workers to receive full pay when on Maternity and Paternity Leave. More flexibility when taking Parental Leave to enable workers to take it as separate days or weeks. More flexibility when taking Parent’s Leave, taken as separate weeks.

7. Right to Representation

Dunnes Stores management must recognise and respect their workers’ right to individual and collective representation by their Trade Union.

Mandate say Penneys restructuring must take place through agreement

Thursday 7 July 2022

Mandate Trade Union, which represents more than 5,000 workers in Penneys in Ireland, has said that any restructuring withing the company, which may include redundancies, must take place through agreement with the workers’ representatives.

Penneys announced a restructuring process on the 29th June and since then Mandate has been engaged with the company since then.

Lorraine O’Brien, Mandate National Coordinator said:

“This announcement from the company has caused enormous stress and anxiety for our members. We’ve already had a number of meetings with the members and we will ensure their voices are heard by the company.

“Any changes to conditions of employment must be done through agreement,” she added.

A series of meetings between Mandate and Penneys to discuss the proposals are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

Ms O’Brien concluded: “We will engage fully with the company and with the intention of introducing a range of options for those impacted by the restructuring, including no compulsory redundancies, redeployment where possible and a negotiated redundancy package if necessary.”