December 2016        

Workers in Eir retail win a major victory

Ruairí Creaney (CWU)

Members of the Communications Workers’ Union working in Eir Retail have won a major victory in their campaign to end agency exploitation—including a 2 per cent pay rise.
     As a result of a petition by hundreds of union members and a threat of potential strike action over the Christmas period, Eir has agreed that agency staff in the company will now receive sickness pay, maternity pay, pensions, and job security, all of which were previously denied to them.
     Eir began using the employment agency Brompton Recruitment to hire retail workers three years ago, ostensibly as a temporary measure. However, once the agency model began to be seen as a more permanent fixture the CWU launched the “Tell Eir to care” campaign in a bid to end this exploitation and unequal treatment of workers.
     As a result of the campaign’s victory, Brompton staff will have the same terms and conditions as their Meteor colleagues. The company has also agreed that Brompton staff will be eligible for permanent Meteor contracts after twelve months for full-time workers and after eighteen months for part-time workers.
     In addition, it has been agreed to set up a joint Company-Union Retail Group to work through the details of how the agreement will be implemented and to deal with any future issues that might arise.
     This is also an important win: it means that union members in retail will have a seat at the negotiating table to make sure their voice is heard.
     This victory shows that workers—even those on precarious contracts—have power in the work-place and can achieve significant improvements to their pay and conditions when they exercise that power.

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