INDUSTRIAL action due to take place at Element Six this week, having been earlier adjourned, has now been postponed for a second time.
SIPTU members have been at loggerheads with management for some time over a variety of issues, most particularly a failure by the company to implement a Labour Court recommendation.
Representatives of the union told The Clare Champio that their members were under very high levels of stress, with many of them having to take medication to cope with the prevailing situation.
A meeting between management and SIPTU took place last Friday, which was chaired by Brian McGinn of the Labour Relations Commission.
It is understood that some progress was made at this meeting, which led to the decision to postpone the strike action again.
A document is set to be put to the union shortly, with members due to ballot on it thereafter. However, it is understood that there are some concerns already emerging that attempts may be made to backtrack on indications given by management about concessions to be made.
Element Six currently employs close to 400 staff, around 120 of whom are covered by a collective agreement known as the Shannon Sustainability Plan, which came into place in 2009.
It is understood that SIPTU have around 90 members and the vast majority of these have voted in favour of industrial action.
The most recent reports and financial statements filed by Element Six for the year to the end of 2014 showed that the company was putting more work towards Shannon.
“During the year, the group announced a major restructuring of the manufacturing side of the business, with the winding down of its Swedish operation to be completed by 2016 and a relocation of the Swedish activities to Element Six Ltd in Shannon and another group company in South Africa. This will include the establishment of diamond synthesis as part of the company’s manufacturing operations in Shannon, in addition to the existing post synthesis processing operation, and a significant additional capital investment in the site’s production facilities.”
The same document also showed large profits being returned after a loss-making 2013. “The profit on ordinary activities before taxation amounted to (US) $44,609,000 (2013 loss $2,525,000). A profit after tax of $41,645,000 (2013 loss $2,525,000) was taken to reserves.”
These accounts also showed that the company was employing 410 people on average in 2014, compared to 357 the previous year. Wages and salaries of US$32,935,000 were paid, with social welfare costs coming to just under $2 million and defined contribution scheme pension costs of just under $1.5 million.