The pay dispute between greenkeeping staff and management at the K Club has just escalated with the threat of Strike action in the run up to the Ryder Cup event in September. We spoke to Colm Quinlan of the Amicus Trade Union who represents half of the 24 greenkeeping staff at the K Club. Colm told us that the pay dispute has been dragging on since January of this year. His worry is that the K Club management have not embraced the process and that the parties are now deadlocked after three rounds of mediated negotiations. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission in March and is now headed to the Labour Court for a recommendation. The problem is that the Labour court is unlikely to make a recommendation before August, a recommendation which will not be binding – this will bring us perilously close to the run up to the Ryder Cup Matches in September. Naturally the union will be trying to leverage the importance of the Ryder Cup to the club as a bargaining chip and any slipup in the brinksmanship of the negotiations could result in a disruption of the Ryder Cup.
The dispute centers around the pay rates. K Club greenkeeping staff are being paid less than €10 ($12.72) per hour which is not much more that the minimum wage (other clubs are paying over €15 ($19.07) per hour) which does appear ironic given the green fees charged for a round of golf at the K Club. Management have agreed to a 3% pay rise from April of this year but are refusing to backdate the raise which would cost €12000 ($15298).
We tried to contact the K Club for a balanced view on this issue but have so far not had a response from them.