SIPTU representatives have dismissed claims concerning the conduct of union activity in the Rapid Action Packaging (RAP) plant in Gweedore, County Donegal, where workers will conduct a 16-hour work stoppage on 24th September. SIPTU Organiser, Declan Ferry, said: “I have written to the Operations Manager of the RAP plant in Gweedore. In my communication with him I clearly and categorially refute his claims concerning the reasons for and the conduct of the ballot for industrial action at the company. “Firstly, the ballot, in which SIPTU members voted decisively for industrial action, was conducted strictly in accordance with the Industrial Relations Act of 1990 and the rules of our union. “Claims by the company that it should be furnished with the full details of the ballot, including the number of its employees that are members of SIPTU, are incorrect. The union is not legally obliged to conduct its business in this manner and will not do so in relation to a company with which our members are in dispute. “Secondly, there is reference to an ‘employee forum’ which was established by the company earlier this year. This forum is not an independent body which can adequately represent workers in their dealings with management. SIPTU members in RAP have a properly formed workplace committee and it is through it that they wish to conduct their business with management in relation to industrial relations.” He added: “The claim that our members have ‘no issues with the company other than union recognition’ is simply incorrect. Our members have raised several issues including rates of pay, precarious employment conditions and the function of the grievance procedures at the company. They wish all these issues to be dealt with through management engaging with their union. “This is why the first step to dealing with all the problems for workers at the company is for their fundamental right to be represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes to be recognised. This is in line with a Labour Court recommendation issued to the company. “Finally, in its statement the company said that ‘over the past 20 years’ it ‘has not had to attend the Labour Court for any other matter’. This is correct but only because until this year there was no process in the company by which a group of workers could take a grievance or complaint to the attention of the State’s industrial relations mechanisms.”