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The Ghost of William Martin Murphy haunts Greyhound

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | press release author Thursday July 10, 2014 00:05author by pbp - People Before Profit Report this post to the editors

The ghost of William Martin Murphy is haunting Greyhound, one of Dublin’s largest waste collection companies. In one of the most daring attacks on organised workers in recent years, the company’s owners are demanding that workers accept a pay cut of 35 percent.

One morning in May workers arrived at their depot and were surprised to find new cabins in front of their place of work. Their managers were sitting inside them and, as each worker tried to enter the depot, they were asked to sign a document that would alter their conditions of work

The ghost of William Martin Murphy is haunting Greyhound, one of Dublin’s largest waste collection companies. In one of the most daring attacks on organised workers in recent years, the company’s owners are demanding that workers accept a pay cut of 35 percent.

One morning in May workers arrived at their depot and were surprised to find new cabins in front of their place of work. Their managers were sitting inside them and, as each worker tried to enter the depot, they were asked to sign a document that would alter their conditions of work. The document demanded that:

  • They accept a pay cut of over €200 a week.
  • The meal allowance for operatives be drastically cut
  • The number of crew members on waste collection trucks be reduced.
  • Sick pay was to be paid at the discretion of management.

The document further noted that ‘Any individual seeking to undermine the spirit of this agreement’ was to face dismissal. In other words, forget about union activity.

1913, Irish Transport and General Workers Union members were told to sign a humiliating document or lose their jobs. In 2014, workers at Greyhound were told to sign a similar document or face lockout.
The company that instigated these moves has an extremely chequered history and serious questions must be asked about how they were allowed to take over the waste collection service of Dublin City Council and South Dublin Council.

They have been convicted in the courts of a number of breaches of waste management legislation. But bizarrely, the judge allowed them to get away with a donation of the poor box so that a recorded conviction would not endanger their efforts to expand into the USA.

Before they got the contract with Dublin City Council, they had overcharged Iarnroid Eireann for their services and were forced to pay that company €1.3 million in compensation. As one CIE manager explained there were ‘discrepancies between the amount invoiced and the actual work done.’

Despite this, Ernst and Young – the company which spectacularly failed to audit Anglo Irish Bank properly – recommended Greyhound as the company to take over Dublin City Council’s waste collection. It was paid €250,000 for its recommendation.

The privatisation of Dublin’s waste collection has been a disaster. There is more illegal waste disposal in the city than at any previous time. Competing companies come at different times of the day to collect the rubbish. Safety practices in the industry have declined dramatically. A race to the bottom has been created – and Greyhound has sunk to the very lowest.

All of this was predicted at the time by those who fought against bin charges.

Greyhound’s current waste collection service is being delivered by strikebreakers, who have received little training. They have been recruited by an agency company and a clear attempt is afoot to drive unionised workers out of their jobs.

If Greyhound get away with such a vicious attack, it will set a headline for other employers to follow. This is why People Before Profit is urging everyone to get behind the Greyhound workers.
  • We should not accept a waste collection service provided by strike breakers and tell the company that we are switching for the duration of this lockout.
  • There should be mass demonstrations in front of the company’s main depot at Crag Road.
  • SIPTU should call a solidarity demonstration during working hours to tell employers that wage cuts will not be accepted.
  • Dublin City Council should be told to bring the waste collection service back into public ownership and to take on the workers currently employed at Greyhound.

Related Link: http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.ie/node/921
author by Eikinskjaldipublication date Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:53Report this post to the editors

As if the work isn't tough enough and then you have to arrive one morning and face this nonsense. I've worked for similar companies and saw dangerous and exploitative practices and the migrant workers were basically used as slave labour and afraid to refuse long working hours. So long as services are in the hands of ruthless psychopaths this kind of crap will happen.

 
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