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Picket lines ESB technicians prepare for further strike action next week over outsourcing of work

It follows a 24-hour stoppage on Thursday, the second such strike in a week, that involved more than 500 network technicians

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ESB technicians striking in Kerry last week

ESB technicians striking in Kerry last week

ESB technicians striking in Kerry last week

ESB technicians are to stage another two days of industrial action next week.

Brian Baitson, a spokesperson for the Independent Workers’ Union (IWU) said they would be back on the picket lines on Tuesday and on Wednesday.

“This issue is about consultation on the outsourcing of our work which the ESB is refusing to do," he claimed.

It follows a 24-hour stoppage on Thursday, the second such strike in a week, that involved more than 500 network technicians, who are members of the union.

The dispute centres on what union representatives described as a lack of consultation and meaningful discussion about the outsourcing of work.

In a statement issued on the morning of last Thursday’s action, the union said their members had spent “two years attempting to utilise all the available internal grievance procedures of the employer to resolve this issue”.

“In that time they have come against nothing more than a brick wall. Eventually, our members were left with no option but to ballot for industrial action up to and including strike action.”

The union claims that on "numerous occasions" they offered the employer “an emergency essential service cover during the dispute if required”.

“To date the employer has failed to take up this offer with any meaningful contact,” they said. “From day one the union has openly expressed its continued availability and willingness at all times to enter third party mediation to resolve the issues at the heart of this official dispute.

“Our offer remains on the table at all times. Rather they have chosen to issue High Court civil proceedings against the union. This challenge will be met head on by the union’s legal team.”

A spokesperson for the ESB said last night there was minimal impact on customers during Thursday’s strike action.

“Network Technicians who are members of the Independent Workers Union (IWU) have been engaged in industrial action in the form of a work-to-rule since Monday, April 19," the spokesperson said.

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“We understand that a one-day strike last Thursday (April 29) will be followed by a two-day strike next week over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday.

“ESB Networks can confirm that it has formally issued proceedings in the High Court against the IWU seeking damages and other reliefs.

“ESB Networks remains very concerned at the IWU’s industrial action,” he added. “This is irresponsible at a time when the country is still facing into the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“We are particularly concerned that the IWU has not co-operated with emergency cover since this action began on Monday, April 19. This is unprecedented in ESB’s experience.”

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