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Dublin - Event Notice
Monday June 30 2008

Dublin honours Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid strikers

category dublin | worker & community struggles and protests | event notice author Sunday June 15, 2008 21:42author by Alan MacSimoin - Workers Solidarity Movement Report this post to the editors

In 1984 ten young women and one young man, members of MANDATE trade union, started a long strike at Dunnes Stores in Dublin's Henry Street. They walked the picket line in support of their union's policy of solidarity with the anti-apartheid struggle and boycotting South African products. It only ended when the government agreed to ban the import of South African fruit & veg until the apartheid regime was overthrown.

Dublin City Council is erecting a plaque outside Dunnes on Henry Street to honour the strikers who played a significant role in the anti-apartheid struggle. This will be on Monday, June 30th at 8am (yes, 8am!)

The dispute started when Mary Manning, a 21 year old cashier, courageously refused to handle fruit from apartheid-era South Africa. Mary and her colleagues became a household name in South Africa (and across the world).

As Deputy Mayor Anne Carter commented "It is astonishing that there is a street named after Mary in Johannesburg but that she and her colleagues have received so little recognition for their brave stance in their own home city of Dublin where the strike actually took place."

Joe King of the WSM said "The young workers who walked out the door in 1984 are a great example of committed trade unionism and international workers' solidarity. It is people like these who are real heroes and it is important that we remember their courage, determination and success."

We also remember Brendan Barron, from the Crumlin branch of Dunnes, who joined the strike.

Members of the WSM were very active in support of the strikers throughout 1984 & 1985, and will be represented at the unveiling

author by Alan MacSimoinpublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 13:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The unveiling took place this morning, sorry about that. RTE were there, so there should be some coverage on tonight's TV news.

author by Tembopublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 18:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Dunnes Stores strikers were supported administratively by their union, but attempts by strikers to meet and convince fellow employees at stores around the country resulted in no solidarity from the hundreds of other workers. Phoenix magazine reported at the time that the upper echelon leaders of the Irish trade union movement were embarrassed by the strike.

One tiny third world solidarity group supported the strikers for the year-and-a-half campaign - AFRI, action from Ireland. It joined the picket, collected strike support money and offered occasional transport to meetings around the country.

The Irish trade union movement failed the strikers.

author by gregory carrpublication date Sun Jun 29, 2008 17:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the WSM missed the boat again! You were always late for mass alan.

 
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