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(en) Ireland, Anarchist Workers Solidarity #89 - Irish Ferries: Time to break the law

Date Thu, 08 Dec 2005 08:46:02 +0200


The dispute at Irish Ferries is about greedy bosses, very greedy bosses
who want to replace their staff with modern day galley slaves.
Eamonn Rothwell, Managing Director of Irish Ferries, plans to get rid
of 543 workers and replace them with migrants on ¤3.50 per hour.
Rothwell earned ¤687,000 last year. That's ¤338.00 an hour. But there is
no talk about replacing him with a yellow pack boss from Eastern Europe!
Our so-called 'social partners', government and IBEC are not
complaining about his wages. Yet again it is ordinary workers who are
being screwed to boost the profits of big business.
Bertie Ahern pretended to be sympathetic when he said that the
company was engaging in "sharp practice". This is just empty guff
designed to stop vote losses. The truth is that Bertie Ahern and his
government support what Irish Ferries are doing.

His fellow cabinet member Tom Parlon said that new employees of
Irish Ferries would be better off than they would be in their own
country because they would be getting ¤3.50 an hour and their board
and lodging!

This government has encouraged migrant workers to come to Ireland
not just because there is a labour shortage but also so that business
can underpay and use them to drive down wage levels. We have no
argument with fellow workers from abroad, we simply want everyone
to get the union rate for the job.

SIPTU cannot sort this out with court cases nor with appeals to the
government. A strike to shut down Irish Ferries would give Rothwell
and his pals something to think about. A commitment by trade
unionists in the ports of Ireland, Britain and France to refuse to handle
its ships would quickly bring a halt to their gallop.

Our unions have the power to shut down Irish Ferries until they agree
to employ all of their staff on trade union rates of pay. However, doing
this would bring our unions into conflict with the law. The Industrial
Relations Act makes solidarity action unlawful.

This is a big step to take but the choice is simple: break the law or
allow the bosses to break our unions. If we let Irish Ferries get away
with it, other bosses will, naturally, copy them. Many more jobs will
be in danger.

On the other hand, if our unions give Irish Ferries management a
bloody nose, other bosses will learn a lesson and back off.

For discussion on this article see
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=73066 where it was
first posted online

For related articles see Workplace struggles and the unions
http://struggle.ws/wsm/unions.html
-------------------------------------
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html

We also provide PDF files of all our
publications for you to print out and distribute locally

Print out the PDF file of this issue
http://struggle.ws/wsm/pdf/ws/89.html

You can find out when new issues of the paper come out by joining
the Ainriail list http://struggle.ws/other/ainriail.html

This edition is No89 published in Sept 2005
http://struggle.ws/wsm/ws/2005/index.html
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