Staff at Element Six in Shannon to go on strike

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

Staff at Element Six in Shannon to go on strike

Staff at Element Six will take strike action later this month

WORKERS at the industrial diamond manufacturer Element Six have decided to take strike action over work practices.

The Limerick Leader last week revealed how staff at the Shannon company – formerly known as De Beers – represented by Siptu had voted by a margin of 96% to 4% to take industrial action up to and including strike action.

And after the union met on Saturday, it is decided this was the course of action which would be taken.

As it stands, workers will go on picket on Wednesday, September 21, unless there is an intervention from either side.

Central to the staff’s reason for going on strike is the proposed introduction of shift working in the grit section of the plant – which has been operational since 1963 – plus proposed changes in relation to the firm’s distribution centre, a redundancy package the company is offering and the payment of shift premiums.

These matters were the subject of a Labour court case which took place in June.

Sinn Fein Senator, and former Siptu official Paul Gavan has called on Element Six management to re-enter talks with workers to prevent the strike.

“It is incumbent on the company to honour the terms of the Labour Court recommendation which was issued back in June of this year,” he said in a statement, “At the heart of this dispute are workers who have between 28 and 42 years of service - a lifetime of service to Element Six. The least they deserve is respect and dignity.”

Mr Gavan believes the Labour Court recommendation offers a fair and balanced resolution, and expressed his surprise the company has not agreed to abide by the terms of the document.

If the strike does go ahead on September 21, Mr Gavan said the workers will have the full support of Sinn Fein’s team of public representatives across the Mid-West.

Element Six products are used in applications like cutting, grinding, drilling, shearing and polishing.

The company had not responded to requests for comment as the Limerick Leader went to press.