SIPTU members have called upon the management of Kerry Group plants in Charleville, County Cork, to desist from using strike breakers or face the further escalation of a dispute which results from the company’s refusal to attend the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). SIPTU Organiser, Terry Bryan, said: “Workers at the food ingredient plants are currently conducting a 24-hour work stoppage which began at 7.00 a.m. this morning (Thursday, 9th February). Unfortunately, the company has taken the highly provocative step of utilising strike breakers to run one of the plants. This has been done to undermine our members while they are engaging in a legitimate trade dispute. “Management has also issued our members with notice of lay off and protective notice. These moves are unnecessary and unwarranted as the dispute could be resolved simply by the company agreeing to return to the WRC. This would be both compliant with the company’s agreed dispute resolutions procedures and indicate its respect for the State’s industrial dispute resolution mechanisms.” He added: “These developments have angered our members and will make it all the more difficult to find a reasonable resolution to the dispute. However, SIPTU representatives remain available to attend the WRC to try and find a resolution.” The items that are in dispute at the Kerry Group plants include proposed changes to shift patterns and terms, job rotation and appointments. These matters were due before the Labour Court on 28th November 2016. However, management withdrew from that scheduled hearing and has now refused to attend a conciliation meeting at the WRC.