Fears as ESB vote for strike action
THE ESB has warned of a potentially serious effect on customers over winter after workers voted for industrial action over a €1.6bn pension deficit.
Ahead of a meeting on Friday to consider the next step, Brendan Ogle, secretary of the ESB Group of Unions, said that he could not say how damaging the action would be or how long it would last.
Nearly 88pc of those balloted voted for action over the row, which centres on the pension deficit and the company's decision to pay a dividend of €78m to the State in the summer while the deficit was still outstanding.
Mr Ogle said talks aimed at resolving the crisis had been ongoing for the past two-and-a-half years.
HE ADDED THAT THE INDUSTRIAL ACTION WAS CONCERNED WITH PROTECTING WORKERS' RIGHTS AND HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH WAGES. THE ESB SAID IT WAS DISAPPOINTED WITH THE OUTCOME AND ACKNOWLEDGED THE IMPACT IT COULD HAVE ON CUSTOMERS.
"ESB has agreed procedures to address industrial relations issues," it added.
"We will continue to work to resolve the issues directly with the group of unions through the established procedures."
The company said that earlier this month, it had invited union leaders for crisis talks. A response is expected after a meeting of the unions.
The ESB Group of Unions includes the Energy Services Union (of Ireland), Siptu, TEEU, UCATT and Unite.