AS the dispute at Irish Cement in Mungret enters its third week, local TD Niall Collins has urged the firm to pay the money it owes to staff.
Some 65 cement workers have been on strike for the last three weeks in protest against pay and conditions.
They are saying the firm is ignoring a Labour Court recommendation to pay incremental increases to their salaries.
But the company says in the current climate, it cannot do this.
The workers have won the support of a number of politicians, including Fianna Fail’s Willie O’Dea, and local Socialist party representative Cian Prendiville.
Now, County Limerick Deputy Collins has joined the call to pay the outstanding money allegedly owed.
Mr Collins, who met the workers in Mungret, described the alleged refusal as “disgraceful.”
“The workers at Irish Cement have been forced to take to the picket line because the company is refusing to pay the money it owes them without unacceptable preconditions. Essentially, the company is holding the workers to ransom by refusing to honour its obligations unless the staff agree to a pay cut of 15% – 18%. This is disgraceful,” he said.
It is the first time in more than three decades production at the factory has ground to a halt, leaving Irish Cement advising its customers to go to rival suppliers.
Mr Collins pointed out Irish Cement is part of the CRH Group, one of the world’s largest building materials firms.
“It cannot continue to ignore this recommendation. It is simply wrong that workers are being left without pay. I have met with the workers in Castlemungret and there is significant anger and frustration about how they have been treated. They have already taken cuts and they believe the company is withholding pay in order to force more pay cuts on staff,” he said urging management to end the impasse.