A STRIKE by lift and escalator engineers threatens to disrupt services at hospitals, shopping centres and other major public facilities from today.
Dublin Airport’s almost completed Terminal 2 is among the buildings which could face inconvenience due to the official action by 70 repair and maintenance engineers from Otis Lifts and its subsidiary, Irish Lift Services.
The employees, members of the Technical Electrical and Engineering Union (TEEU), are striking over plans by the parent company for compulsory redundancies despite a Labour Court recommendation that a voluntary package be offered.
TEEU assistant general secretary, Arthur Hall, said 11 Otis employees had volunteered to go but the company was insisting on picking 13 different workers. Mr Hall said the 13 earmarked included long-servers and the company’s selection did not comply with the usual ‘last in, first out’ criteria.
No member of Otis management could be contacted for comment yesterday.
The dispute has been simmering for several months, culminating in Otis sacking 17 engineers a fortnight ago. They were reinstated pending talks with the union but those talks wound up last week without agreement and only the number of positions to be cut has reduced since then.
Otis are the largest lift company operating in Ireland and their lifts and escalators are installed in facilities with high levels of footfall. They also have lifts installed in many office blocks, apartment complexes and industrial plants.
Routine service and maintenance call-outs will be affected from 8am but it is not yet known how emergency fault repairs will be handled.
Mr Hall said last night: “We know that Otis has been trying to recruit UK-based engineers to break the strike. How successful they have been will only emerge tomorrow. It also intends using managers and office staff to repair lifts and escalators.
“This could pose a serious Health and Safety hazard not only to the individuals concerned, but to people working in these facilities and to members of the public using the lifts.”
Pickets will be placed at Otis’s two main Irish bases at Mahon Business Park, Cork and Naas Road Business Park, Dublin. Workers are also planning to picket at T2 at Dublin Airport.
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