Engineering union supports national pay deal

One of the country's top unions today urged its 45,000 members to accept the proposed national pay deal.

The executive of the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) said the advances in employment rights, the need to protect jobs and to maintain competitiveness were the main reasons to back it.

The draft wage agreement was finally hammered out by employers and unions last month after missing several deadlines set by the Government.

It provides for a pay increase of 6% for all workers to be rolled out over 21 months.

TEEU general secretary Owen Wills said: "The outcome of our recent negotiations on a new national agreement with the Government and the employer bodies has been as much about resolving our concerns on employment rights issues as resolving the question of pay.

"Ultimately, failure to address the non-pay issues can undermine trade union organisation and our ability to secure decent pay and terms of employment in the longer term."

Both Impact and Mandate have urged their members to accept the deal.

TEEU said the agreement included important employment rights, such as anti-victimisation laws to prevent union activists and organisers being penalised and the protection of agency workers from exploitation.

On the issue of pay, Mr Wills added: "Negotiations were extremely difficult, especially in the Construction Industry, where employers were holding out for a 12 months freeze and because employers generally did not want to go beyond a five per cent increase.

"These were the best possible terms available in the current economic crisis where maintaining competitiveness is also a key issue.

"Holding out for higher pay increases was not an option while our members were facing the prospect of higher unemployment levels."

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said it would be unable to pay wage increases to its 200,000 staff.

Citing the collapse in the housing market, CIF is to vote on the issue on October 21.

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