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Audio: Waterford Crystal Workers Speak Out

category cork | worker & community struggles and protests | feature author Wednesday February 11, 2009 11:38author by Alan M. - Workers Solidarity Movement - Corkauthor email corkwsm at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Public Meeting in Cork

featured image
Waterford Crystal workers with meeting Chair.

Noel Atkins and Pat Phelan, Waterford Crystal workers and Unite Shop Stewards, travelled to Cork last night to speak out against the attempted closure of the plant. They spoke from the heart as workers tossed on the scrap heap after decades of service.

In the audio, the background to the conflict is provided along with calls for solidarity around the country and a recognition that will hopefully inspire the country and become the first struggle among many against the attack on our class.

A solidarity group is to be formed in Cork from those present, with the aim of helping the Waterford Workers in whatever way we can and keeping the issue in the hearts and minds of working people across the island.


Donations to the above fund can be made by on of the following means:

1. Ulster Bank 98-64-20 A/C 10379438
2. At the Unite Union Office, Keizer Street, Waterford.
3. At the Visitor Centre, Waterford Crystal.

audio Audio from Public Meeting in Cork in Solidarity with the Waterford Crystal Workers 14.82 Mb

author by Margaret O'Regan - SWPpublication date Tue Feb 10, 2009 18:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There has been a lot of talk recently about lack of leadership.

I had the privilege of attending this meeting in Cork last night, and having heard both glass workers speak, I know where I will look to for leadership. I find Waterford Glass workers inspiring because of both their words and their actions. They are showing us the way. This is a pivotal workplace; whatever they would have succeeded in doing to these workers, they would do to the rest of us.

The Receiver is from Deloitte, whose hired henchmen would have prevented long-standing glass workers from having access to what has been their place of work for decades. These immoral actions and behaviour have been, rightly, thwarted by the glass workers. Other workplaces take note!

Long may the occupation continue. Best wishes to all the workers.

author by Ronpublication date Tue Feb 10, 2009 21:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They have an office in Cork don't they?

author by Scepticpublication date Wed Feb 11, 2009 20:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If there is a serious interest in this firm having a future as opposed to making ideological points then some here are going about things the wrong way entirely. What firm the Receiver is from is irrelevant – he is an agent of the courts in this instance and he must act in the interests of the creditors as a whole including the workers and he is accountable back to the courts for his decisions – major decision can only be made with the approval of the courts. The Deloitte firm has nothing to do with it just now. The Receiver is not even on their payroll for the duration. If people are looking to change the company law corpus and other laws they should address this directly but not blame people who are doing their job in compliance with the law as it stands and on behalf of the courts.

References to “hired henchmen” are wrong and unfair. The Receiver is bound by law to secure the assets of the company for the benefit of the creditors – presumably a reputable security firm was hired. This is standard practice and they are not henchmen. There are others on these boards of a republican bent who do know a lot about henchmen.

Being a former worker of a firm does not mean one has a right to continuing free access to the premises in all circumstances. Working in a place does not confer such a right in law. Dogmatic assertions that the workers are always right ignores the rights of other often less powerful interests such as small suppliers and other creditors who have lost out.

author by soundmigrationpublication date Wed Feb 11, 2009 22:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Working in a place does not confer such a right in law. "

Of course ir doesn't. Who do ya think makes the laws. maybe if ordinary people made the laws, ie direct democracy and particaption, rather than a tweedledum and tweedledee contest every few years such laws might exist.

Appealing to 'the law' neiter offers enlightment, nor solutions in this case. The law in this case is there to protect capitalists. its really quite simple.

author by cork333publication date Thu Feb 12, 2009 16:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I also would like to commend the Waterford Crystal Workers for the manner in which they are pursing their quest for justice and a fair deal. I do think that is it a fair point to call the security men who tried to keep the workers out of the factory' 'hired scum' because they were. It amazes me that anyone could do such a job under the cirumstances.It would be interesting to find out if they are all registered security officers??

The workers do no think they are more important than 'small suppliers' etc in fact. to the contrary they are thinking of all of us while they are taking this stand.

I never thought of myself as being pro-union or pro-workers but this dispute has highlighted how vunerable we all are as workers in the private sector . I don't think I ever really understood the mantra'divided we stand united we fall' until now.

Keep fighting the good fight and conducting yourself in the manner you have been doing. Waterford Crystal workers have done so much for the workining people of Waterford.

Best wishes


author by Alan Davis - International Bolshevik Tendencypublication date Sun Feb 15, 2009 19:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was at the meeting and both speakers referred to the thugs that had been sent by the management immediately after the start of the occupation, one of them at a little bit of length - I recommend that people listen to the audio file of their presentations.

The Waterford workers know the people involved - they are the ones who do the worst of the bosses' dirty business such as house evictions - it is not only in the context of militant industrial action that we will meet these hired scum, carrying out "legal" activities so they will be backed up by the official forces of the bosses state apparatus where necessary.

The real fight for the Waterford workers will begin when the site gets new owners who will want to start up operations (with a massive cut in staff numbers) or sell it off, depending on which of the offers is taken up. If the workers reject the deal from the new owners and continue the occupation the state will act, they will not want to allow the example of the Waterford workers to take on even more importance. There seems to be a deep level of support for the occupation in Waterford but it will be a test for the workers' movement in the rest of Ireland, particularly Cork (as the nearest big centre), to see if we can rise to the challenge of providing them with the practical support necessary to sustain any such extension of the occupation - public meetings, street stalls and work site collections to raise money, sending contingents to support their actions in Waterford, militant demonstrations in Cork and solidarity strikes etc.

The bosses will make us pay for their crisis unless we get organised and fight back against the attacks. This will be largely defensive actions to start with, like the Waterford occupation, but we need to also start raising the question of who decides what the response to the crisis should be - that is the question of who rules and in whose interests. To which our answer should be - a workers' government and socialism.

Alan Davis

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