Action will start on 8 April, and will initially be action short of a strike by control room staff. There will be limited, if any, capacity to cover the functions they withdraw. We envisage disruption for third parties – in particular NIE Networks, Mutual Energy, and renewable energy participants. Prospect members are not ruling out strike action.
The move comes after SONI staff voted strongly in favour of the action up to and including strike. Workers at the EirGrid-owned company have not received an annual pay award since 2015. There has been no breakthrough in negotiations, as SONI have failed to improve on previous offers.
Angela Moffatt, Prospect Negotiations Officer, said
“SONI has failed to improve its previous offers, despite last ditch talks initiated by Prospect via the Labour Relations Agency. We made a generous proposal which compromises on our claim and allows for an arbitrated solution. This was still not good enough for EirGrid/SONI though which smacks of the kind of arrogance we’ve become used to, sadly.
“If our members are forced to continue their action, we will see an upsurge in cost and disruption to other SONI stakeholders and participants. Ultimately somewhere down the line that cost and disruption will pass to the consumer.
“Our action has started off as low level in the first week. Make no mistake though – things will escalate and fast.
“Unless SONI asserts some control over this process, and moves away from the disastrous industrial relations policy dictated by EirGrid Management, we will have no option but to move to more and more action short of, and including strike.
“Our members have the will and determination to follow through with this action.
“SONI can change that – but only if they are proactive, willing to compromise and willing to find a solution for their workforce in Northern Ireland.”