Workers at the Premier Periclase plant in Drogheda began strike action this morning (Monday August 17) 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.
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.
“I’m genuinely disappointed that this situation has come to this and had hoped the conciliation talks over the last couple of weeks with the Workplace Relations Commission would have seen some compromise and resolution,” Sinn Féin councillor Joanna Byrne said, having joined the picket line with fellow Drogheda Borough councillor Tom Cunningham.
“Morale is low here on the picket this morning, around 40 workers here are disheartened and uncertain of what the future might hold, many of whom have dedicated their working lives to this company. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic this instability is the last thing any of these men want or need.”
Cllr Byrne said she fully supported the workers’ calls for management to honour the long standing collective agreement in place, engage with workers and unions and find a resolution. “I’d urge them to open dialogue with union reps as a matter of urgency. Nobody wants to see this end up in the Labour Court.”
Representatives continue to say that management at the plant are not willing to engage in meaningful dialogue in relation to the proposals.