IWU members on picket outside the ESB Networks plant in Mullingar this morning.

IWU picket at ESB Networks plant in Mullingar

A small number of members of the Independent Workers Union (IWU) are staging a picket at the ESB Networks plant in Mullingar today.

Those members were willing to have their photo taken but asked us to seek official comment from a union spokesperson.

The Westmeath Examiner has attempted to contact the IWU to get an official statement outlining their grievances and is awaiting a response.

It is understood the IWU, which is not recognised by the ESB, has taken the action over a claim that there has been a lack of consultation over work to be outsourced to subcontractors.

ESB Networks statement

Last night ESB Networks issued a statement on the IWU industrial action and contingency planning.

The company claimed that “the action is unlawful because IWU have balloted their members to progress a claim that has not been made to ESB or the Labour Court. This is a legal matter, and we are dealing with it as such. The IWU is not affiliated to either the ESB Group of Unions (GoU) or the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

“We continue to deal with our recognised trade unions through the long-established industrial relations framework, which has supported ESB and employees in meeting the challenges of a changing energy industry.

"We continue to engage with all of our employees through normal work channels. The four unions affiliated to the ESB GoU have confirmed that they are not in dispute with ESB and will continue to provide emergency cover.

“ESB Networks can confirm that there has been limited impact to electricity customers as a result of the industrial action to date. We are responding as quickly and as safely as possible when faults occur. Real time updates are available on www.powercheck.ie and we apologise for any inconvenience to customers should it occur.

“ESB Networks continues to monitor the situation closely and ensure that the necessary contingency plans are in place to minimise the effects on its operations and customers as much as possible.

“ESB Networks remains committed to resolving this matter. It is exploring all options, and has notified the IWU that it intends to take legal action in relation to this dispute.

“ESB Networks takes this opportunity to remind the public to stay safe and stay clear of electricity lines and poles.”