As 600 union delegates and guests began arriving in Galway last night, outgoing SIPTU president Des Geraghty warned Mr Brennan would have to significantly change his attitude to avoid strike action.
“The minister is going to have to talk to us. He can’t just continue to trample on people,” Mr Geraghty said.
SIPTU is strongly opposed to the break-up of the two companies due to fears the move will result in significant job losses.
Earlier this month CIÉ unions called off further strike action following a meeting with Department of Transport secretary general Julie O’Neill.
However, Aer Rianta unions will this week seek the go-ahead for stoppages in advance of a meeting with Mr Brennan on September 9.
SIPTU general secretary Joe O’Flynn, who is to deliver his keynote speech tomorrow, said the issue would be at the forefront of the week’s agenda. “It certainly will be the subject of quite a bit of debate because of the manner in which Government policy is being pursued. They have shown a complete lack of consideration in the way they failed to consult properly with us over this,” he said.
Mr Geraghty, who is to deliver his keynote speech later today, said it was important for the conference to consider international developments which are resulting in mounting job losses here.
“The challenge for the moment is to gear the union up for the new global issues we are facing,” he said.
Motions likely to attract considerable attention will include calls for the repeal of the Industrial Relations Act and a proposal to review the participation of the trade union movement in the social partnership process.
One motion to be debated by conference delegates expresses concern that the Sustaining Progress agreement failed to provide for a flat rate pay increase for lower paid workers.