Friday, August 14, 2009

MTL Responds to Strikers Accusations

Further fury from dockers
Shipping News Feature

IRELAND - The war of words between Marine Terminal Ltd and its workers in Dublin has escalated.

In response to strike action called at its facility at the Port of Dublin a spokesman for Marine Terminals Ltd (MTL) said:

“The salaries enjoyed by MTL’s port operatives – up to €75,000 for a crane operator - are way above their counterparts elsewhere in the Port of Dublin and in the industry generally.

“Due to reductions in port traffic and customer demands for efficiencies and greater flexibility, we offered up to €60,000 plus overtime, together with enhanced redundancy packages of up to €75,000 for volunteers. That is four times the statutory redundancy terms, but the union demanded almost double that, which is completely unrealistic.

“In calling this unnecessary strike, the union officials seem to have taken little account of the fact that the Irish economy in general and the ports industry in particular is facing a hugely challenging time.

“However, not only is the port operating smoothly, with hundreds of lorry movements daily, but we’ve actually received several compliments from shipping customers about the improved performance and efficiency of the terminal since the union called the strike five weeks ago.

“We have agreed to further talks on August 17, at which stage we hope that the union will recognise their actions are actually harming the interests of their members and enter into meaningful discussions.”

The response has been met with scorn by the Dublin dockers. Referring to MTL's statement, their website says that:

“The core issue is not salary, rather the radical changes in shift pattern, manning levels and the erosion of current working terms and conditions — all of which are being forced on their staff without consultation with the workers or their union.

“The point regarding redundancy packages is outrageously exaggerated. The average figure would be closer to €35,000 ($50,000) not €75,000 as stated by Peel Ports, with some workers receiving as little as €2,500.

“Peel Ports’ assertion that this strike is unnecessary is ludicrous in the face of a policy by the company to completely break union representation of its workforce, as it has displayed utter contempt for the industrial relations processes in Ireland and its mechanisms.”