Five weeks long dispute at Marine Terminals dispute in Dublin set to spread to other Peel Ports facilities in Britain and EuropeAugust 10th, 2009
Unions representing dock workers in Ireland and Britain are due to meet in Belfast on Wednesday to consider a request from SIPTU for solidarity action to be taken in support of workers locked in a five week long dispute at Marine Terminals in Ringsend, Dublin. The dispute erupted after the new owners of the facility, Peel Ports, embarked on a campaign to replace the existing workforce with lower paid, non-unionised employees.
“In response to a request from SIPTU, the Unite trade union in the UK and Ireland, in conjunction with the International Transport Workers Federation, has agreed to organise solidarity activities in support of the striking workers”, the UK Ports of Convenience Co-ordinator Mike Gibbons said this evening. “We believe that if Peel Ports succeeds in its anti-union campaign in Dublin it will attempt to displace unionised workers in every other port on these islands.” He added that solidarity action against Peel Ports could extend to ports outside Ireland and Britain if required.
Earlier today Dublin Port was brought to a standstill as local community groups in East Wall and Ringsend, where most of the Marine Terminals workers live, staged a protest on the East Link Bridge and at the approaches to the facility. “The workers have shown a strong commitment to the plant over many years and they depend on the terminal for continued employment”, the International Transport Federation inspector for Ireland, Ken Fleming, said today.
“Since Peel Ports took over the facility last year it has tried to drive through a plan to replace existing workers with cheaper, less skilled and even untrained workers. The company has refused to engage in meaningful negotiations with SIPTU and has brought in workers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and other parts of the Republic to break the strike.
“Industrial action was only taken after the company issued compulsory redundancy notices to over 50 per cent of the workforce and demanded others sign new contracts involving pay cuts of 14 per cent to 18 per cent and much poorer working conditions.
“While further protests and demonstrations of support will take place over the coming weeks it is clear that Peel Ports has as much contempt for the local community in which its plant is located as it has for the people it employs. In these circumstances we have no choice but to mobilise our resources internationally to make the company engage in serious negotiations with the workforce.”