Tourism bodies appeal to workers to cancel protest

TOURISM and business interests in Killarney yesterday appealed to a group of local workers not go ahead with a decision to protest during the 3 Irish Open Golf Championship in the town, later this month.

Workers at Killarney’s Liebherr crane factory have voted to protest on the opening day of the tournament because of what they claim was a decision by factory management to force them to take two days’ holidays.

The reason for the compulsory holidays is the Liebherr company is making its car park available to patrons attending the tournament.

But SIPTU and the TEEU unions said the planned imposition of a compulsory holiday shutdown at Liebherr, on July 29/30, was in breach of their agreement with the company.

Meanwhile, Liebherr declined to comment.

Killarney Chamber of Commerce and Tourism yesterday urged the workers to reconsider their decision.

“At a time when all of us in Ireland are experiencing the most severe economic challenges in our history, it should be foremost in our minds to protect and promote every existing and potential employment opportunity,” said a chamber statement issued through its executive, Jerry O’Grady.

Given the “apparently insignificant reasons” for the disagreement between some staff, their union and Liebherr management, the protection and promotion of Killarney’s tourism and non-tourism industries was not on the agenda, the statement added.

Killarney-based SIPTU official Donal Tobin, however, said the company’s decision would result in loss of income and major inconvenience for his members in planning for holidays in 2010.

He said they were willing to use shuttle buses from a designated car park.

Mr Tobin said no inconvenience would be caused to the participants of the Irish Open or those attending as spectators.

Meanwhile, behind- the-scenes negotiations are under way to try to resolve the dispute.


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