Limerick sports centre staff win battle over pay

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

MORE than two years after being made redundant from the St Enda’s Sports Complex, workers have finally received a government commitment to pay their redundancy settlement.

MORE than two years after being made redundant from the St Enda’s Sports Complex, workers have finally received a government commitment to pay their redundancy settlement.

It has been confirmed that the 27 staff based at the southside sports complex have received an undertaking that more than €100,000 owed to them in redundancy pay will be paid.

Unhappy at getting only statutory redundancy, the staff, supported by SIPTU, appealed to the Labour Court which recommended they get four weeks pay for each year of service.

But with the Labour Court’s ruling not legally binding, the Department of Education did not pay up for a long period of time, despite pressure from opposition politicians, and a meeting between workers and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.

At the start and end of each school day, eight staff of the now-closed St Enda’s Sports Complex have been staging a demonstration in a bid to raise awareness.

Some 27 staff lost their jobs when St Enda’s Sports Complex closed in February 2011, amid an outcry of calls to keep it open.

It also meant the southside lost its last public swimming pool.

The staff were on strike over Christmas time, but there is relief now the Department of Education has paid an additional settlement to staff.

Staff spokesman Ray Healy gave a cautious welcome, but stressed that no cheque has yet been forthcoming.

“But it is a relief, and it means we can get on with our lives, and get back to some normality,” he said.

Limerick City TD Willie O’Dea welcomed the move, having raised the matter in the Dail for more than a year.

“The Minister for Education promised the workers that he would resolve the issue when he met them last March, yet nothing happened and the workers had to resort to protesting in hail and rain outside the entrance to the complex for the last number of months for the Government to finally pay the money they were rightfully owed,” he said.