Gas maintenance workers set to strike for two days this month

Stoppages may cause disruption to supplies, unions say after 18 months of talks without breakthrough

Maintenance work carried out by gas networks contractor GMC is set to be disrupted with the potential for an impact on supplies over the coming weeks after Siptu announced that its members at the company would strike on two days this months in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The union says its members are taking the action after it failed to resolve a number of outstanding issues with GMC during 18 months of talks.

“The industrial action will take the form of one-day work stoppages from 7am to 4pm on May 19th and May 26th. It will also include a work to rule including no working of overtime on the same two weekends. There will also be a withdrawal of some ‘second response’ emergency cover during these periods,” said Siptu organiser Andrew McGuinness.

“These workers provide an essential service maintaining and developing our gas infrastructure. They realise that taking this industrial action will inconvenience the public and could cause disruption to gas supplies.


“However, they have been left with no option as their claim for a pay rise in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis has been frustrated by the company since it took over the contract for Gas Networks Ireland in 2021.

“The company was fully aware of the 5 per cent annual pay increase claim prior to taking up this contract and have failed to address it.”

John Regan, also of Siptu, said the employees’ families were suffering the effects of the cost of living crisis and the union’s members “need the company to take seriously their legitimate claim for a pay rise and enter into serious meaningful negotiations”.

The union says the dispute will include the placing of pickets on five GMC depots across the country including two in Dublin, as well as Cork, Limerick and Carlow.

In a statement, GMC disputed Siptu’s version of events saying it had engaged with the union on the matter which, it said, is set to be dealt with in the Labour Court, and was currently paying the rates set out in the Sector Employment Order (SEO), the industry-wide agreement between employers and unions for workers ratified by Government.

The company said it was “bitterly disappointed with this notice as we have engaged constructively with the employees and their representatives who transferred to the company on 1st August 2021. The Company has not frustrated any resolution of the pay dispute and have amicably resolved pay and conditions for the majority of employees since the transfer date.

“The matter has been referred to the WRC and we are awaiting a referral to the Labour Court. The Company has always respected the machinery of the state in settling any dispute and we expect that Siptu will also.

“The company is a member of the Construction Industry Federation and confirms that all employees are paid in accordance with the Construction SEO” it said.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times