Former IFI workers to blockade ammonia ships in pay protest

ANGRY former IFI workers have vowed to blockade any ships trying to remove 26,000 tonnes of ammonia stockpiled at the Marino Point plant in Cobh, Co Cork.

The threat was made yesterday after dozens of former employees tore up documents which would have entitled them to an interim payment of 5,000 until they got their redundancy packages.

The ex-workers say signing the form could result in them losing some of their rights and they wouldn’t be in a position to make further claims against the shareholders, the Government-controlled NET and British multinational ICI.

Worker director Stephen O’Riordan said: “Many workers took legal advice and decided not to sign the document. We were

assured the 5,000 was an interim payment which had no strings

attached.”

He also criticised the fact that workers only got their P45s yesterday. “They were dismissed on October 31 with one hour’s notice. That was when they should have got their P45s and not on November 18,” he said.

Brendan Crean, who worked for IFI for more than 23 years, said he was livid about the document and wasn’t signing it. He said he would fully support any blockade at the plant. “We’re being forced into it,” he added.

Thomas Creagh, who also worked for 23 years at Marino Point, said he was advised not to sign the document by legal representatives. He said he was worried that doing so would affect his rights, especially as he has two children, aged seven and nine, and is very concerned for his family’s future.

Workers say they will continue to fight for proper severance pay and are considering taking an

unfair dismissals case because they were not given the minimum 30-day notice. They are also concerned about their pensions fund.

“There is a pensions shortfall in the North for the Belfast workers of 25 million and we’re worried the shortfall could be similar in the south,” Mr O’Riordan said.

“A person with 25 years service is entitled to 2.1 weeks pay per year of service while somebody with 37 years service would get 1.3 weeks pay per year of service.

“We want 5.5 weeks pay per year of service, plus statutory

redundancy,” Mr O’Riordan said.

Representatives of the liquidator were in the Cobh plant yesterday and were told by workers involved in the wind down and former employees that they will blockade the plant until they are assured of getting all their entitlements.

“We have 26,000 tonnes of ammonia here and it’s not going anywhere until were get proper pensions and severance pay,” Mr O’Riordan said.

Employee representatives are hoping to meet Mary Harney and ICI executives again this week to discuss redundancy and pension rights.

They are also planning a march in Cork city next Saturday to highlight their case.

Former colleagues at the IFI plant in Arklow are also expected to take part in the march over the weekend.

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