asked the Minister for Finance whether any impediment is placed in the way of workers organising into trade unions, or staff associations, or meeting to discuss their grievances in any of the semi-State companies for which he is responsible.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Semi-State Workers' Organisations.
No impediment is placed in the way of workers organising into trade unions or staff associations in any of the State-sponsored bodies for which I am responsible. Within the limits of normal company discipline every facility is provided to enable employees of the various bodies to meet and discuss their grievances.
Is the Minister aware that the staff association of the Irish Sugar Company here in Dublin called a meeting to be held in the usual assembly hall and, as a result of management directions, that meeting had to be cancelled completely although normally the employees would have the use of the room? Does the Minister not agree that such action is not indicative of any desire on the part of the Irish Sugar Company management to facilitate attempts to organise by the members of a staff association or a trade union? Would the Minister say if those employees who are members of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in Thurles who will now be moved— 300 of them. I understand—to Dublin will find any difficulties placed by the management in the way of their continuing membership of that union? Could the Minister give any indication on this point?
In regard to the first part of the supplementary question. I suggest, with all due respect, that the Deputy is making a mountain out of a molehill. I understand this was a very isolated incident, that to some extent it arose out of a misunderstanding, or neglect on the part of the persons who wished to organise the meeting in omitting to give notice to the management and that the matter was subsequently settled amicably. In regard to the second part of the question there are other questions to which I shall be replying later on which refer to that matter.
Is the Minister aware that the 9 per cent granted last June has not even yet been implemented and that the meeting to be held by the staff association——
That is a separate question.
One is connected with the other. The meeting for which permission was refused was connected with the fact that the increase was not paid.
I have no information about that.
The question deals with meetings.
You do not hold a meeting without reason and I am giving the reason for the meeting.
We cannot go into the purposes of the meeting.
Is the Minister not aware that these actions of management will lead to the very same conditions as occurred in the case of the ESB? If a dispute arises, do not blame the trade union movement.
I think the Deputy is exaggerating this incident out of all proportion. Apparently a decision was made to hold a meeting——
For what purpose?
I do not know what the purpose was.
To get the 9 per cent.
The question deals only with the facilities for staff holding meetings. The persons organising the meeting failed, unfortunately, through some oversight——
If the Minister will read the question he will see that it does not say anything about meetings.
If the Deputy will let me talk—I am saying that the persons who sought to organise the meeting, unfortunately, through some oversight omitted to notify the management and the meeting had to be cancelled. My information is that the matter was subsequently fixed up on an amicable basis, that this was a totally isolated incident and that so far as affording facilities to the staff, as far as the company is concerned, there are no grounds for complaint.