AKC News // CIF accuses SIPTU of naked self-interest

The Construction Industry Federation has accused SIPTU of naked self interest and sabre rattling for suggesting that the Government should withold State contracts from employers who renege on the National Wage Agreement.

Earlier today SIPTU president Jack O'Connor said such employers would be engaging in national sabotage.

In a statement CIF president Tom Parlon, accused SIPTU of trying to blackmail construction companies by threatening to block vital infrastructure projects.

He said that with 90,000 jobs lost in the sector since the third quarter of 2007, SIPTU would be better-off working with employers to save jobs rather than threatening them over the airwaves.

He said the priority of any pay deal must be to ensure the viability of companies and protect well paid jobs.

He added that the empty sabre rattling of Jack O'Connor had done little to improve the chances of the wage agreement being accepted by the construction sector in the coming.

Earlier, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Special Delegate Conference voted to accept the national wage agreement negotiated in September.

By last Friday it was clear that the vast majority of trade unions had given the green light to the new national wage agreement - albeit reluctantly.

Even its strongest advocates acknowledged its shortcomings.

The country's second largest union, UNITE, which voted against the agreement, blamed inadequate provisions on pay pensions and union negotiating rights.

However, speaker after speaker acknowledged that in the current economic climate, there was no prospect of securing anything better outside national partnership negotiations.

Unions will now push for full speedy implementation of every promise - particularly on employment rights.

The employers body IBEC will endorse the deal later today, though the Contruction Industry Federation is still not guaranteed to accept it at all.

And ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, has called on the Government to suspend the National pay terms, in the interests of the economy.

The Association warned that it was self-evident that wage increases will exacerbate an already perilous economic situation and, if granted, will drive companies to enforced closure, condemning more people to redundancy.

Source: RTE.ie

Date : 17-11-2008