The Mayor of Drogheda, Kevin Callan, has offered his full support to the workers at Premier Periclase plant in the town as their industrial action began early on Monday morning (August 17) and has calling on the company to come to the table and be “reasonable in terms of supporting loyal and hardworking people.”
The strike began after unsuccessful talks with management who have proposed a temporary shutdown of the plant. Workers at the magnesia plant were backed by both United and SIPTU unions, with members on the picket line from 7am this morning.
The company proposes to lay off staff or put them on reduced hours while transferring work to non-union labour and retaining contractors on site.
The Mayor said workers who have been with the company for decades “want to be working” but have ” to resort to this type of action which is always a last resort.”
“We need to see the company get feet under the table in the Workplace Relations Commission to work through these issues through the industrial relations mechanism, including conciliation,” he said.
The Mayor visited the employees this morning as they mounted their strike at the the front entrance of the plant and spent time walking on the picket. Mayor Callan also received a briefing from senior union officials on where the dispute is currently at.
“I and a lot of people in our community fully support the employees who have been authorised to take this step drastic step by their two unions. I will continue to liaise with the employees and will be communicating my dissatisfaction with local working people being put in such a position to have to take strike action.”
Strike action had been threatened last month and was originally scheduled for Monday July 20th but that was deferred after parties agreed to talks with the Workplace Relations Committee. A longstanding collective working agreement was in place at the plant at Stagreenan. but workers and Union representatives feel the agreement is being disregarded.
Representatives continue to say that management at the plant are not willing to engage in meaningful dialogue in relation to the proposals.