Donegal TD Pearse Doherty has again expressed a view that management at the RAP packaging plant in Gaoth Dobhair and members of the SIPTU union should agree to come to the negotiating table in a fresh bid to avoid planned strike action by workers.

Deputy Doherty said: “Echoing my comments last month, I want to again reiterate my call for both management at the RAP packaging plant and officials representing SIPTU workers to come together and discuss the outstanding issues which have resulted in these employees balloting in favour of strike action.

“The RAP packaging factory is of course a very important source of employment here in West Donegal and the Donegal Gaeltacht as a whole and the skills and expertise of its workers prove that companies can establish very successful bases in the region.

“As I said last month, it’s unfortunate that this ongoing dispute has escalated to the point that workers represented by SIPTU voted overwhelming in favour of taking strike action which has been announced for 24th September as part of a 16 hour work stoppage with pickets to be staged at its premise on the day.

“However, this decision was not one which was taken lightly by staff and clearly management’s refusal to recognize their right as workers to union representations for the purpose of collective bargaining is a major aggravating factor here.

“This decision by management goes against a recent Labour Court recommendation, and is particularly difficult to comprehend when you consider that the company’s own handbook outlines that determinations made by the State’s industrial relations mechanism will be adhered to by the firm.

“In official correspondence from SIPTU to management the Union has again outlined that it is prepared and willing to sit down with them to discuss the outstanding issues with a view to resolving same.

“I therefore think it’s important for me, as a Public Representative and local T.D. to once again voice encouragement for both Union Reps and company management to come to the negotiating table and thrash out a mutually agreeable solution and which would be in the interest of both sides to accommodate.

“Similarly, I again want to take this opportunity to press upon Údarás na Gaeltachta, as a body which has provided many supports to RAP over the years, to play a role and do its part to enable and encourage both sides to enter into negotiations.”

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