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Saturday 3 December 2016

'Strike is not what we want,' says key Siptu official Reidy

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Owen Reidy is no stranger to industrial action and has played a key role in many bitter and protracted disputes.

The Siptu divisional organiser was heavily involved in the so-called Greyhound Lockout last year.

The 14-week dispute between Greyhound employees and the company ended with the workers agreeing to go back to work.

The 70-strong workforce at the Dublin recycling plant had mounted pickets after the company abruptly slashed wages by 35pc.

LOCKOUT

Following tough negotiations between bosses and Siptu, the two parties agreed to end the lockout.

The dispute ended up in court after Greyhound sought injunctions to stop workers taking part in any blockade.

"That was a very serious one," Mr Reidy said.

In 2001 he was promoted to the position of branch secretary in Aer Lingus.

In the same year he was a key player in a three-day national dispute at the airline after Willie Walsh became CEO.

There was major restructuring and a three-day strike ensued. "I've had quite a few experiences of disputes and strikes in both the public and private sector," he said.

"But my view on strikes is that when they happen it's a failure of the process.

workers

"It's not something we want and it's not what the workers want, but if it's necessary then strike action is the way to go.

"The best disputes are the ones that never happen, and get resolved."

Mr Reidy started out as a Siptu organiser in 1998 in Co Mayo.

From 2003 to 2007 he was involved with non-commercial semi-states including Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland and Failte Ireland.

In 2013, he was promoted to the position of divisional organiser, looking after utilities and construction.

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