Strike notice, due to come into effect today (Wednesday), has been served by trade union UNITE on Morris Builders Providers, with all staff members expected to place pickets on the company’s Cork Road depot.
The action is being taken in protest at a forced redundancy programme being implemented by the company, according to the trade union. A total of 18 redundancies are on the cards. However a spokesperson for the long-established company, which currently employs 85 workers, said Morris’s is acting totally within a Labour Court recommendation that clearly states the method of how redundancies need to be carried out.
UNITE regional officer Sean Kelly argues that the company is attempting to impose redundancy by a manufactured selection basis as opposed to a voluntary basis as negotiated by UNITE and recommended by the Labour Court in July. UNITE members have agreed to accept an offer of four-and-a-half-weeks redundancy payments per year of service. “Morris Builders Providers have opposed a negotiated settlement throughout. They initially refused to attend the Labour Court and then took nearly a month to consider its findings. Subsequent to that they have proceeded to change rosters, alter seniority and exclude particular categories of staff. This is in direct contravention of the Labour Court which holds a statutory position.”
Mr Kelly told The Munster Express that the decision to withdraw labour was not taken lightly by the workers and followed three lengthy meetings with the Labour Relations Commission, we well as the full hearing of the Labour Court.
Meanwhile, in a statement to the press, Seamus Reynolds, Chief Executive of Morris Builders Providers, said the company was forced to reduce employee numbers because of market conditions and the downturn in the economy. Noting that Morris’s had never before experienced a strike by its workers, he said he hoped to be in a position to take back most if not all of the staff as soon as the market picked up.
“We have accepted all conditions set out in the Labour Court recommendation 19590 to maintain harmony and good staff relations in our company”, Mr Reynolds continued. “The Union members accepted the Labour Court recommendation on the 21st of August but now have served industrial action on the company for reasons that are variance with the recommendation. The company’s principle concern all through this is to try and safeguard the 67 jobs that remain after the unfortunate redundancies and any industrial action may result in further job loses in this local company.
“Morris’s is made up of a number of departments, the people that are working in those departments are fully trained and highly skilled relative to each Departments, but the union is telling us that we should take a person (for example) from the Timber yard and put them selling kitchens this can not be done overnight again this totally is against the Labour Court recommendation”, Mr Reynolds concluded.