Contractor denies accusations of union busting

Unite the Union has escalated its long-running campaign to re-instate four construction workers sacked by contractor J Murphy and Sons. 

The trade union has accused the Camden-headquartered firm of “union busting” for firing staff in the Republic Ireland who held a meeting about pay – an allegation Murphy “categorically refutes”. 


Source: Unite the Union

Unite the Union protestors outside Mott MacDonald offices

The union has launched a campaign targeting the company’s customers, business partners and lenders, beginning with a protest at Mott MacDonald, which is supporting Murphy’s joint venture with Bouygues on the Lower Thames Crossing. 

It has promised to widen the campaign to target the company on an international scale in the coming weeks if Murphy does not reinstate the workers. 

The dispute relates to the dismissal of four Unite members, who were working as fitters and welders on a refurbishment project at the Ruscal Aughinish Alumina refinery in Limerick. 

According to the union, the contractor suspended 15 workers who held a meeting over non-payment of travel and subsistence fees. 

The organisers of the meeting, one of whom was a Unite rep, were later sacked in September 2022. 

Murphy maintains it acted in response to an “unballoted, unnotified, and therefore unlawful strike action taken by a small minority of workers”.  

“We categorically refute Unite’s misleading claims concerning the nature of this case,” a spokesperson for the company said.  

“The claims regarding the reason for the dismissals and allegations of union busting are factually incorrect. 

“The company has always indicated that it is open to resolving this matter amicably and sensibly.  

“We remain committed to maintaining an open dialogue with all parties around this issue to try to draw a line under this matter.  

“This matter is currently subject to legal proceedings in Ireland.” 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Murphy’s behaviour is deplorable it is guilty of flagrant union-busting.  

“No reputable employer should have anything to do with Murphy considering the manner in which it treats its workers.” 

“Unite will never allow such attacks on members to go unchallenged and it will leave no stone unturned until Murphy does the right thing and reinstates the workers.”