Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Strike Breakers

Marine Terminals has been granted an interim injunction against Siptu, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and a number of officials and workers from referring to the Strike Breakers as scabs.On Monday 31st the High Court was told that last week a group of protesters had travelled to Athy in Co Kildare, where they put up posters identifying a Strike-Breaker who lives in the town.Yesterday, the company sought the orders over actions by the union and the strikers who are allegedly intimidating the Strike-Breakers by calling them scabs.Mr Justice Kevin Feeney granted Marine Terminals an interim injunction against Siptu, Ictu and 10 named individuals.Those individuals include Ictu assistant general secretary Peter Bunting, Siptu officials Oliver McDonagh and Christy McQuillan, and the union’s general secretary Joe O’Flynn.Ken Fleming, an agent of the International Transport Workers Federation, and five current and former employees of the company are also named.Under the terms of the order, the defendants and their agents cannot intimidate any persons employed by the company who have continued to work during the strike.The judge, who granted the injunction on an ex parte (one side only) basis, made the matter returnable to Thursday next.He also gave the company permission to bring proceedings aimed at restraining the defendants from referring to any person at the firm who continued to work as being a “scab”, or from interfering with their right to work.The company is also seeking orders prohibiting the defendants from distributing fliers or publishing personal details of, and from continuing a campaign of naming and shaming, those employees who continue to work.The flyer distributed in Athy contained the words “Wanted for Crimes Against Irish Workers”, and the name of the Strike-Breaker.In an affidavit to the court, Marine Terminals general manager John Rafferty said the defendants had engaged in a campaign of “naming and shaming”.Should the courts protect the identity of these people by restraining the striking men & women’s freedom of speech? Please feel free to have your say by leaving a comment.


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