SIPTU members in the Rapid Action Packaging (RAP) plant in Gweedore, County Donegal, began a 16-hour work stoppage at 7.00 a.m. this morning (Monday, 24th September), in a dispute resulting from a refusal by the company to respect a Labour Court recommendation. SIPTU Organiser, Declan Ferry, said: “Our members have been left with no option but to undertake industrial action in relation to this dispute. This is because management has refused to respect a Labour Court recommendation concerning their right to be represented by their union. This is even though the company handbook states that it will always adhere to decisions of the State’s industrial relations mechanisms.” He added: “Pickets were placed on entrances to the plant at 7.00 a.m. and these will be in operation for the duration of the work stoppage. Direct employees of the company have shown great solidarity in relation to the dispute and the operation of the plant has been largely halted.” “However, some workers employed on temporary contracts have entered the premises. Our members understand the precarious situation that these workers are in but can assure them that if they do join the industrial action they will have the full support of their colleagues if, as a result, their employment status is threatened.” SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Teresa Hannick, said: “I am greatly encouraged by the level of support our members have received from the people of Gweedore and the surrounding communities. This includes from local elected representatives including Sinn Féin TD, Pearse Doherty, and local county councillor, Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, who visited the workers early this morning to show their support.” “Our members would rather be at work than outside on a picket line. However, the approach, to date, by the company to this dispute has left them with no option but to undertake this work stoppage.” She added: “SIPTU representatives remain willing to enter into immediate discussions with management to bring about a fair resolution to this dispute. A negotiated solution has always been the preferred approach of our members. However, if management maintains its intransigent approach our members will be left with no option but to escalate their industrial action in the coming days.”