Dublin Council Passes éirígí Green Isle Motion
On Monday evening [March 1], Dublin City Council unanimously backed an emergency motion tabled by éirígí activist, councillor Louise Minihan in support of the striking workers at the Green Isle plant in Nass, County Kildare.
The motion, which read:
“That this council supports and sends solidarity to the striking workers at the Green Isle plant in Nass, who have been on official strike for more than 6 months;
notes with interest that the Labour Court has ruled in their favour;
notes also that the management of the company and their parent company Northern Foods has refused to engage with the Union (TEEU) or the industrial relations mechanisms of this state and therefore, left the workers no other option but to resort to a hunger strike to seek a satisfactory resolution to the strike;
and that this Council demands the company abide by the ruling of the Labour Court and reinstate the workers immediately.”
will now be forwarded to every council in the Twenty-Six Counties for voting on.
The official strike action, by the Technical Engineering & Electrical Union [TEEU], has already lasted for over six months, and centres on the unfair dismissal of three members of staff at the plant. Despite the fact that the Twenty-Six County Labour Court ruled overwhelmingly in favour of the workers, Green Isle and its British-based parent company, Northern Foods, have rejected the ruling and refused to engage with either the Labour Court or the union.
This intransigence has left the striking workers with no option but to embark on a hunger strike in an effort to get the recommendations of the Labour Court implemented.
On Wednesday, February 17, Jim Wyse, a TEEU shop steward, was the first to begin the hunger strike. He was joined on Wednesday, February 24 by John Guinan, and they will be joined by another hunger striker tomorrow [Wednesday] and every subsequent Wednesday until the dispute is resolved.
Speaking after the council meeting, Minihan said: “The business class and their cronies in Leinster House have declared war on the workers of this state, and the strikers at Green Isle have found themselves on the front line. It is outrageous and totally unacceptable for any company to refuse to engage with a trade union, or to refuse to implement a Labour Court ruling because they don’t get their own way. The bosses need to learn that workers will not lie down and be walked all over.
“The strikers at Green Isle have been an inspiration to Irish workers and, like the workers at Thomas Cooke and Visteon, have shown that the working class can fight back.”
Minihan continued: “Last night’s motion was about putting pressure on this company to recognise the rights of its workforce. It can hopefully end the despicable situation where union members have been forced to fight back with the drastic option of hunger strike.
“éirígí is fully supportive of the Green Isle strikers and the party will continue to do whatever it can to highlight the issue.”