Union members to strike at Western People newspaper

Members of the Unite trade union at the Western People newspaper, based in Ballina, Co Mayo, have voted to take strike action from October 31, 2008 after two staff members refused to accept new roles in the company’s offices in Castlebar and Claremorris.

The Western People issued a statement today to say the company has been attempting to fill two sales positions in Castlebar and Claremorris since January, 2008.

"The company is currently overstaffed and has informed employees that where possible it will fill these and other vacancies internally rather than laying off staff, to safeguard jobs," the Western People said.

"The company has had on-going discussions with staff and Unite representatives since January, 2008, with a view to filling these positions internally and protecting existing employment. Unfortunately staff meetings, requests for volunteers and discussions with Unite since early this year, have all failed to reach agreement on filling these positions internally.

"After more than nine months seeking a solution, the company had no alternative but to identify staff members to fill these two vacancies."

Two members of staff were advised that if they chose not to accept the jobs available to them in Castlebar and Claremorris, there would be no alternative work for them. The Western People said it had guaranteed salary and benefits for the two staff members concerned and offered to meet Unite representatives, without pre-conditions or, alternatively, to enter into talks with a conciliation officer from the Labour Relations Commission.

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