Industrial action by 110 workers at the Irish Cement production plants at Platin, Co Meath and Castlemungret, Co Limerick began on 3rd April last. I understand that the Labour Court's most recent Recommendation of January 2012 in relation to this dispute was the culmination of a protracted dialogue between the company and the group of unions representing the workers on restructuring issues that had already involved three successive Labour Court Recommendations. The Labour Court noted in its Recommendation of last January that it was not in a position, on the basis of the information provided through a report of a Financial Assessor undertaken following agreement between the parties, to make a definitive recommendation on an adjustment of pay rates and pay structures for the future. The Labour Court had, accordingly, urged the parties to engage with each other regarding the total cost base of the company.
The Labour Relations Commission was subsequently closely involved in facilitating talks between the company and the group of unions which were aimed at finding an agreed solution to the matters in dispute. That process of dialogue proceeded to the stage at which proposals for a settlement of the dispute were rejected by the trade unions concerned and a work stoppage commenced. I understand that the parties are currently engaged in direct discussions in an effort to resolve the dispute, with the assistance of an independent facilitator jointly appointed by ICTU and IBEC.
I would urge the parties involved in this dispute to work together to break the current impasse and to approach the process in good faith. The industrial relations dispute resolution bodies also remain available, if requested, to assist in seeking a resolution.