THE High Court today granted an injunction prohibiting picketing in an
industrial dispute which has left almost all of Ballymun’s remaining
flat blocks without lifts.
Ms Justice Mary Laffoy granted the injunction to Dublin City Council
against the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) and
against two named picketers over the dispute which arose last February
when the lift repair company, Pickerings sought to make seven of its
Since then, 25 of the 27 lifts in nine remaining eight-storey blocks,
and in the 14-storey Plunkett Tower, are no longer working because it
has not been possible to repair them due to the pickets, the court
heard. Around 450 families, and four wheelchair-bound individuals, are
Roddy Horan SC, who made the injunction application for the city
council on a one-side only (ex-parte) basis, said the situation was now
“parlous” and the tenants were “suffering dreadfully.”
He said the council had threaded warily in the initial days of the
dispute in the hope that the union and the lift company would resolve
the matter and for fear of exacerbating it as there were TEEU members in
other sections of the local authority.
However, he said, the council decided to terminate its contract with
Pickerings which meant that the picketing now going on was secondary and
not lawful, counsel said. The TEEU had indicated the pickets would stay
in place even if the lift contract passed to another company, counsel
In an affidavit from Pat Caden, a senior engineer with the city council,
he said the union and the lift company unsuccessfully tried to resolve
their differences through the Labour Court and late last month the
council terminated the contract with Pickerings.
A new contractor is in a position to come in immediately but will not do
so with the pickets in place, Mr Caden said. The situation over the
lifts “has become intolerable”, Mr Caden said.
Des Feeney, an city council inspector in Ballymun, said in an affidavit
it was not too strong to say the lifts are a form of lifeline for a
significant number of tenants on the top floors including parents with
prams and the elderly. Four wheel-chair users are currently restricted
from leaving their flats, he said.
Mr Feeney also says a scheme to de-tenant the flats and move the
occupants to new accommodation in the area has been affected by the
Ms Justice Laffoy ordered that notices be put on the 10 flat block
entrances stating the court’s order prohibiting picketing or the
blocking of access or egress to them.
The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union has been injuncted by
Dublin City Council to prevent it continuing to picket in Ballymun where
it has been involved in a dispute over redundancies with Pickerings
Lifts since February 4th.
The ex parte injunction was served on the union this evening. It will be
responding in the High Court tomorrow before Judge Mary Laffoy at 2pm.
The Labour Court issued a Recommendation on April 7th that was accepted
by the TEEU as a basis for settling the dispute but the company has so
far refused to engage with the Court or the TEEU.
Tonight TEEU Assistant General Secretary Arthur Hall said the Union
would be seeking to have the injunction lifted at tomorrow’s hearing.