SIPTU members at the Kerry Group plants in Charleville, County Cork, have scheduled four 24-hour work stoppages over the next two weeks (Tuesday 14th, Friday 17th, Tuesday 21st and Friday 24th February) in 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 have already conducted three 24-hour work stoppages as part of this dispute. Unfortunately, the company took the highly provocative step of utilising strike breakers to run one of the plants during our members’ work stoppage on Thursday, 9th February. This was done to undermine our members while they are engaging in a legitimate trade dispute and it would be very much hoped that management will not repeat this provocation.” He added: “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. 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.