A contractor for Aughinish Alumina has filed suit in the Republic of Ireland’s High Court to enjoin a planned work stoppage at the plant on the grounds that the strike is not a valid trade dispute.
Murphy International Ltd (MIL) initiated proceedings late last week against trade union Unite and its plans to commence a strike next week to protest workers’ pay and allowances. During the hearing on the motion, the court heard that over ten dozen of the plant’s 1,100 employees work for MIL.
Per MIL, it was notified of the strike by Unite earlier this month, which it says is not a valid trade dispute under the 1990 Industrial Relations Act. Further, MIL said it has concerns over the validity of a secret ballot conducted by the union last month.
On Friday the court granted MIL permission to serve short notice of proceedings against Unite. MIL seeks further actions from the court, including an injunction preventing the union from organizing, supporting, participating in, or sanctioning a strike or other similar action at the plant. In addition, MIL is asking for the industrial action issued by the union to be vacated due to alleged irregularities with the secret ballot taken of its membership last month.
The court granted permission on Friday on an ex-parte basis, and the case will again be heard by the court later this week.
Rusal’s Aughinish Alumina is Europe’s largest alumina refinery, boasting a nameplate capacity of 1.99 million metric tons of hydrate and 1.915 million metric tons of alumina per annum. The plant was constructed between 1978 and 1983 and utilizes the Bayer process for refining alumina.
The story was updated on October 23rd.