Management at Finsa Forest Products Ltd declined to comment on their failure to attend a sitting of the Labour Court last Friday after efforts made during two conciliation conferences yielded little resolve for the workers facing redundancies at the Scariff chipboard factory.
A spokesperson for the company said they had “no comment” in relation to ongoing matters at the company and also refused to comment on a claim that it had “refused to attend” a Labour Court hearing scheduled on February 11.
It is understood from a union official that on the advice of the conciliation office, an emergency Labour Court sitting was scheduled for last after two conciliation meetings held to hammer out an acceptable redundancy package for the workers at the East Clare company did not resolve the stalemate.
However the official claimed when a sitting of the Labour Court had been scheduled, management informed union representatives that they would not attend or engage in the process.
A Siptu union official representing workers at the plant said she is now calling on the company to attend the Labour Court and to go through the proper procedures.
“This puts the workers in a very difficult position, there is no agreement so nothing has been finalised in respect of the redundancies. Management is ignoring industrial relations procedures and they are flouting their responsibilities in this,” she said.
It is understood that since management informed the union officials they would not attend the Labour Court sitting, no formal talks have taken place between management and union members.
Councillor Joe Cooney said a delegation of public representatives were in talks with both management and the workers and aimed to get both sides around the table once again. “We met workers last Thursday night and again the workers are very disappointed over losing their jobs and with the redundancy package on offer, as well as the way they are being treated.
“We are arranging a meeting with Finsa management to see if we can get them to improve redundancy packages. Many of these workers are on short time and are under severe pressure. It is unfair how they are being treated.
“An East Clare delegation of public representatives are in talks with both management and workers. The general mood among the workers is of disappointment and really that the future doesn’t look bright,” he said.
Deputy Timmy Dooley said management needs to engage in discussions with workers and avail of the Labour Court procedures to resolve issues.
“Finsa have benefitted from State support over many years and I am very disappointed that they are ignoring the industrial relations machinery of the State to resolve this impasse,” he said.