Belfast Telegraph

Archaeologists strike for second day in pay dispute

Some 25 archaeologists have taken part in Thursday’s strike.

Archaeologists have staged a second day of strike action over a 10% pay dispute.

Unite members working for the Irish Archaeological Consultancy (IAC) are involved in a 24-hour stoppage at the site on Aungier Street in Dublin.

The union said the industrial action was over the pay dispute and the firm’s refusal to engage with Unite.

It follows on from a 24-hour strike at the N22 bypass scheme in Macroom last week.

Pickets have been placed at the entrances to the site at Aungier Street, Stephen Street Upper and Great Longford Street.

Some 25 archaeologists have taken part in Thursday’s strike.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Richie Browne said: “We served a 10% pay claim on the company last February and they responded by saying they only dealt directly with their employees, that they didn’t recognise Unite.

“On the foot of that we directed the matter to the WRC (Workplace Relations Commission), but the company refused to attend (meetings) with the WRC.

“We then balloted for industrial action and got an overwhelming mandate for industrial action.

Because of the company’s refusal to engage with us, the strikes may be escalated Unite

“Because of the company’s refusal to engage with us, the strikes may be escalated.”

Mr Browne added that archaeologists are one of the “poorest paid” construction workers, with a wage of 12.50 euro an hour.

The site of the picket line comprises a block on Aungier Street intended for student housing.

Archaeological works are focused on the remains of a medieval church, a 12th century town ditch and three “Dutch Billy” houses dating back to the late 17th century and early 18th centuries.

In a letter from Rob Lynch, the managing director of IAC, to the WRC, he says that he is not aware of a dispute with any of the company’s employees.

“With respect to pay, IAC have consistently made efforts to improve our staff’s pay and conditions in response to the recovery in demand for archaeological services and in line with what the company can afford,” he said in the letter dated in May this year.

“To this end we have increased pay to our staff by up to 65% over the last four years.

“We note that at some point in March 2018, Unite circulated a letter throughout the commercial archaeology sector, seeking additional increases in pay/rates.

“Prior to March 2018, IAC have been offering salary packages on projects at, or up to, 4% above those rates.”

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