ESB Networks technicians to continue work-to-rule

No further strikes planned at present, and ESB says action is ‘unlawful’

Technicians working for ESB Networks are to continue a work-to -rule which has been in operation for more than a fortnight.

However no further strikes are planned at present.

More than 500 network technicians, who are members of the Independent Workers’ Union (IWU), have already staged four strikes over recent weeks including a 48-hour stoppage which commenced on Tuesday.

The union said on Wednesday night that its strike committee would meet again on Saturday to consider all relevant information.


The company has described the industrial action as “unnecessary” and “unlawful”.

It has initiated legal proceedings against the union. The union has said it will meet the legal action “head on”.

The union said it was awaiting further advice from its lawyers.

The dispute centres on what the union has described as a lack of consultation and meaningful discussion about the outsourcing of work.

The IWU has insisted the current strike is not about money.

ESB Networks does not recognise the IWU as a representative organisation for the network technician grades in the company. The IWU is not part of the group of unions in the company

ESB Networks has described the impact of the stoppages on services as “limited”.

In a statement on Wednesday the IWU said:

“ This is not a recognition dispute; The union in a litany of letters to the employer has always confirmed and acknowledged the employer’s legal right not to recognise a particular trade union.

“But whether the employer likes it or not, there is a legal obligation on the employer to establish and provide a proper consultation forum for all employees as is clearly defined within the legislation. The Employee Information and Consultation Act, 2006/08. “

“The employer has refused to enter talks or mediation at the Workplace Relations conciliation service. (The appropriate forum for such matters)

“The employer appears to believe they can just ignore their legal obligations for consultation with employees under the legislation, passed by the Government in 2006 and updated in 2008.

“It would appear the only reason is that they don’t like the colour of our clothes.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent