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(en) Ireland, Workers Solidarity #83 - Are You or Have You Ever Been a Member of the Independent Workers Union --- Dublin Bus Drivers Suspended for Union Organising

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 21 Dec 2004 08:37:07 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Four Dublin Bus drivers were suspended without pay in late July. What did
they do? Abuse passengers, steal cash, take their busses home? No,
nothing like that. Their terrible crime was to hand out leaflets telling their
fellow workers about the Independent Workers Union.
The first driver was suspended, in Phibsboro garage, when he was giving
out IWU leaflets after he had finished his day's work. Two senior
managers, Joe Kenny and Mick Matthews, arrived and ordered the driver
to go to the local manager. As he was not allowed to have his IWU
representative accompany him, he refused and was then ordered off Dublin
Bus property. Three more IWU members were also subsequently suspended.

This is an attack on all bus workers. Management is deciding which
unions will be allowed to talk to workers and which unions will not be
allowed to organise. It doesn't matter whether we think the IWU is a good
initiative or we think that workers should remain with SIPTU and the
NBRU in order to change them from the inside. The issue here is about
free speech and the right to join the union of your choice.

The Independent Workers Union was formed a couple of years ago, after a
dispute inside the ATGWU. Left wing officials Mick O'Reilly and Eugene
McGlone had been victimised for accepting the breakaway Irish
Locomotive Drivers Association into the union. They were also seen as too
responsive to their members and too supportive of workers who are
prepared to take on their employers. Although Mick and Eugene were
reinstated after a long campaign inside the ATGWU, the Cork butchers
and home helps had already decided to leave and set up a more militant

The IWU is a small organisation but one which worries the more
conservative officials in many other unions. It is far more democratic, it is
opposed to 'social partnership' deals, and it stands for traditional trade
union principles. Whether it will grow significantly remains to be seen.
What is certain is that a lot of workers are becoming dissatisfied with their
unions' caution and moderation in the face of increasing management
attacks on job security and working conditions, not to mention the small
pay rises we are fobbed off with when the economy is booming.

And some union bureaucrats are afraid that if the IWU gets organised
inside one of the bigger jobs, it might become a beacon for many of those
who are unhappy with their own organisations. That's why neither the
NBRU nor SIPTU have lifted a finger in defence of the suspended IWU
drivers. It's as if they share a common agenda with management to control
the workforce and pave the way for a smooth privatisation (despite union
conference policies opposing privatisation of public transport!) Is it any
surprise that some drivers want a new union?

by Joe King

Solidarity Messages can be sent to:

Dublin Bus Division,
Independent Workers Union,
61 North Strand Road, Dublin 3

This page is from the print version of the Irish
Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'.
We also provide PDF files of all our publications
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/pdf.html for you
to print out and distribute locally
Print out the PDF file of this issue

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