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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 27 October 2020

Limerick players vote in favour of strike action while club and players' union release separate statements

Representatives of the club met with SIPTU and the PFAI today.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

LIMERICK FC PLAYERS have voted in favour of strike action over outstanding wages and will serve strike notice, according to the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI).

A statement published on behalf of the players on the PFAI website says that the “vote was overwhelmingly in favour” of taking industrial action having received “no payment since 1 June”.

However, the club has also released a statement apologising to players and staff for the delay in payment of salaries and says that the “issue was resolved“ on Tuesday. It also says that sanctions have been imposed on Limerick FC by the FAI.

“The club have taken measures to cut costs over the last number of weeks to ensure we can fulfil our contracted obligations to staff and players,” the statement reads. “We will continue to monitor our projected income streams and should the need arise make more adjustments.”

The players — who met with SIPTU and the PFAI today about the possibility balloting union members for strike action — say in their statement that they have received commitments from the club “at the eleventh hour” that they will be paid what they are owed to date, but that they have received “no satisfactory confirmation that our contracts will be honoured in the future”.

The players have balloted to strike and intend to serve strike notice. They also say that they will have no choice but to take the last resort option of going on strike “if payments which fall due in the future are not honoured”.

A general view of Market's Field after the game A general view of Market's Field. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The full statement reads: “As has been well documented now in the media, we met today with our representatives, the PFA Ireland, in relation to the outstanding monies due to us individually on foot of our contracts.

“We had received no payment since 1 June and despite numerous attempts over the course of the past six weeks to address this issue by our representatives, no payments have been made until the imminent threat of strike became real.

“At the eleventh hour, we have received commitments from the club that we will be paid what we are owed to date but have received no satisfactory confirmation that our contracts will be honoured in the future.

“With nearly four months of the season to go, this leaves us in a very precarious situation as we simply cannot endure another long period without pay. Like most workers, we have commitments and outgoings which will not wait for payment at the club’s behest.

“Our representatives, the PFA Ireland, had sought guarantee of payment for the future, which is entirely reasonable given the history of the last six weeks, and this has not been provided.

In the circumstances, we have now balloted to strike and the vote was overwhelmingly in favour.

“We will now serve strike notice and if payments which fall due in the future are not honoured then we will have no option but to take the last resort option of going on strike.

“It is disappointing that it has taken this long for the club and FAI to engage properly with this crisis and we hope they will take this issue of late payment seriously from now on.

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“We hope the supporters, players and other clubs will appreciate that this action will only be taken if we are left with no other option.”

Following a meeting with FAI officials on Monday, sanctions were imposed on Limerick FC.

The club cannot sign any new players for the remainder of the season. They will not be invited to participate in the IRN-BRU Scottish Challenge Cup, after they were initially next in line for the competition following the removal of Bray Wanderers.

The club’s statement also criticises the PFAI for arranging a meeting with the players for 17 July to ballot them on strike action.

“The PFAI’s only course of action was to look for an escrow account for players’ salaries and then call for strike action.

This was very disappointing and would only further reduce the club’s potential income and ultimately create more issues with payments to their members that remain employed by the club.

“The action of the PFAI and the leadership by Mr McGuinness in their decision-making, during this time, has not being conducive to create a good working environment between players and management.

“It should be noted that since 2009 there has been no occasion for the PFAI to contact Limerick FC regarding non-payment of players’ wages. In the last three seasons alone the club have honoured just over €1 million in players’ salaries and while doing so created on average 45 number jobs per annum in Limerick FC.”

You can read Limerick FC’s full statement here.

The PFAI has since released a statement in response to this, claiming that Limerick’s statement contains “inaccuracies”.

It is entirely wrong for Limerick to now seek to pass any blame for this completely unsatisfactory situation away from anyone but themselves.

“They entered into contracts with players which they as per their payment schedule haven’t been able to keep. That is their fault and theirs alone.  Limerick need to step up to the plate and honour the contractual obligations on the dates they are due.”

You can read the PFAI’s full statement here.

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