Thursday, 13 August 2009

British and Irish unions come together to plan campaign to defend port jobs

ITF, ICTU, SIPTU and Unite to plan co-ordinated campaign to support Dublin strikers and defend conditions for port workers in Britain, Ireland and Europe

The International Transport Workers Federation, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, SIPTU and Unite held a joint meeting in Belfast today to plan a co-ordinated campaign to defend jobs and working conditions in Peel Ports facilities. “The dispute at the Peel Ports owned Marine Terminals facility in Dublin has provided a wake up calls for all of us”, the head of Unite’s Docks and Waterways division Brendan Gold said after today’s meeting.
“We are now undertaking an urgent information exercise across Ireland and Britain to support our colleagues in Dublin in every way possible.” Unite is the largest trade union in the United Kingdom, and the second largest in Ireland.
ICTU Assistant General Secretary Peter Bunting said, “The Irish Congress of Trade Unions right across the island of Ireland are fully supportive of those on strike and we will utilise whatever power is in our remit to ensure that the rights of workers are not trampled on”.
ITF inspector Ken Fleming said, “Unite was appalled at hearing the circumstances of the dispute in Dublin port described to them by the SIPTU delegation. I am delighted that Unite has committed to do whatever it can to support the strikers in their battle. They immediately recognised the implications of the dispute for working conditions in Britain and indeed Europe if Peel Ports are allowed to develop a template in Dublin they can then apply to drive down pay and conditions everywhere.”
SIPTU Marine Port Division Organiser Oliver McDonagh said, “We very much welcome the support we have received today and look forward to co-ordinating our dispute with our colleagues in other ports. We have no choice but to escalate this dispute because of the intransigence of the company and the ruthless way in which it has tried to de-unionise Marine Terminals, even to the extent of retaining the services of the international security firm, Control Risks.”

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