CIF chief accuses union of holding construction industry to ransom

Director general of the Construction Industry Federation, Tom Parlon, has today accused the Unite union of holding the construction industry to ransom.

A strike by crane drivers affiliated to Unite resumed this morning in a dispute over pay.

Speaking on the Today with Sean O'Rourke programme, Mr Parlon said a number of key projects around the country have been halted as a result of this action.

Part of the dispute centres on an inter-union row. Last week ICTU upheld a complaint by SIPTU that Unite had breached ICTU rules in recruiting the crane operators and had failed to consult with SIPTU about that recruitment.

Also speaking on the RTÉ Radio 1 show, Tom Fitzgerald, Unite regional officer for Construction, said his members would appeal this decision.

Mr Fitzgerald said there had been no serious engagement from employers at the WRC and said the recruitment of new members by Unite was not about being disruptive.

He said the dispute was about rates for travel as well securing the new rates in an agreement with crane operators.

Tom Parlon

Mr Parlon said the CIF "would be quite happy to sit down with the Labour Court, the WRC, together with whoever ICTU recommend, whether it be SIPTU."

He said what has been offered by employers, in terms of pay, to SIPTU is what Unite have closed down building sites over.

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