THE UNITE UNION has accused Dawn Meats of implementing unsafe work practices, engaging in threatening behaviour towards staff and cutting workers pay with out consulting them before hand.
A letter sent by Unite, signed by local Labour TD Ann Phelan as well as Labour councillors, Michael O’Brien and Maurice Shortall calls on Dawn Meats “to engage with the UNITE trade union on issues relating to the overdue implementation of health and safety legislation and issues surrounding forced overtime and non-payment of an overtime premia.”
Many of the workers at the Dawn Meats plant are foreign workers and reliant on work permits to stay in the country. Unite claims that management at Dawn Meats have threatened with the withholding of their work permits for daring to seek the implementation of safety legislation.
“UNITE has sought only to sit down and discuss these issues with management as we would at any other work place”, said UNITE regional organiser, Roy Hassey. “The case of these workers at Dawn Meats has attracted interest which has turned to justified anger from politicians and human rights groups. We have sought to talk but now we are willing to take escalating action in order to force the company to abide by the law and treat their work force with respect.”
However a spokesperson for Dawn Meats completely rejected the union’s claims. The spokesperson admitted that he was baffled by the complaints considering the employment opportunities that Dawn Meats was offering during the recession. The spokesperson said “The allegations made by Unite and WCTU are entirely false and without foundation. The company is fully compliant with all relevant legislation and has a documented and robust grievance procedure in place for its employees as part of their employment contracts. Health and Safety is of utmost importance to the company, which has established health and safety committees with employee representation and there have been no breaches of health and safety law. In these difficult economic times, the company has succeeded in creating 200 jobs at this site in the last two years. The company which has operated at Grannagh for the last 26 years looks forward to continue working with its employees in building the business into the future.”