Irish building sites face more chaos as crane drivers vote to ramp up strikes

IRISH BUILDING SITES face more disruption as Unite union crane drivers have voted to escalate strike action.

Unite, which claims to represent the vast majority of Irish crane drivers, previously balloted its members on industrial action.

The Journal IE repoorts they voted in favor of strike action, however the industrial action only applied to crane drivers who were sub-contractors or who worked for non-Construction Industry Federation firms.

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) represents most of the country’s largest construction firms. The ballot today was a vote on whether to picket CIF companies as well.

Extending the strike action to CIF companies will likely affect many more major building projects and would cause more disruption for the sector.

Unite Regional Organizer Tom Fitzgerald told Fora that crane drivers who are Unite members voted near-unanimously to extend the strike action to CIF companies.

Pay

The union claims to represent about 140 crane drivers. Fitzgerald said that there was a 70% turnout for the ballot, and only one vote was against extending the strike action.

“Tomorrow we will be issuing strike notice on the CIF and all CIF firms,” he told Fora.

“From possibly the July 13 we can have pickets on any CIF project throughout the country.”

The move sets the scene for more disruption in the construction sector once the strike notice expires next week.

The strike is over pay, with crane drivers saying that they should be paid more money as the economy improves and building companies return to profitability. Unite wants crane drivers to be paid about €25 an hour.

The company has already started some strike action, and today picketed three construction sites in Dublin.

Union row

The CIF has previously condemned the industrial action, saying that it was in the middle of talks with unions when it was served with strike notice.

The Unite pay claim has also been criticised by Siptu, which previously represented the bulk of Irish crane drivers.

Last week the Irish Congress of Trade Unions held a hearing into a Siptu complaint that Unite was recruiting crane drivers. Unite has said that the crane drivers chose to move to it.