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Eleven Weeks and Counting – Support the Mr. Binman Strikers

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | feature author Tuesday August 04, 2009 21:29author by Ann-Katrin Orr - Socialist Partyauthor email limericksocialist at gmail dot comauthor phone 0877675890 Report this post to the editors

Post a solidarity message in the thread below, which we will print out and give to the workers

featured image
Some of the Mr Binman Strikers

On March 25th workers at Mr. Binman’s Carrick-on-Suir depot in Tipperary were called into a general meeting. The privatized bin company wanted pay cuts of 10% across the board from the workers. The following day workers were called one by one into management offices and told that for them, 10% would not be enough. Wage cuts of 20, 30, 40 or even 49% were demanded.

In response, the workers organized a meeting of their own. They quickly learned that, not only were there different pay cuts for different workers – there was also different pay rates, different work hours and different conditions. They decided to fight these pay cuts, and get unionized, joining SIPTU. The company refused to recognize the union, or negotiate with them, and strike notice was served.

After 10 weeks the strike is still going strong. With around 40 of 60 workers in the Carrick-on-Suir plant on strike, the company has resorted to bringing in scabs. When some of the workers from Limerick refused to do it, new employees were taken on. Pickets have since spread to Ballyneety (Limerick) and Dungarvan (Waterford).

Company seeking injunction to ban pickets
Now the owner of the company, Mr Sheahan, has filed for an injunction against the picketers, the judges in the High Court will decide on Friday if the pickets will be banned. The company’s case seems weak, given that the pickets have been completely peaceful, bar a few occasions when picketers have reportedly been driven into by bin lorries.

It is an absolute disgrace that a key weapon of workers’ struggle – pickets, can be banned. However, as workers in cases like GAMA, Waterford Crystal, and others have shown, with strong, unified action with support from ordinary people, these anti-union laws can be pushed aside.

This disgraceful attempt to silence Mr. Binman workers underlines just how rotten Mr. Shehan is. But what can be expected of a boss who said in an interview with the Farmers’ Journal “I consider myself the union here”?

Please post solidarity messages & make a donaton to the strike fund
This is a major struggle that is not getting the attention it deserves, and needs the support of ordinary people. To help the strikers continue, a strike fund has been set up, so supporters can go to their local bank and lodge money to the fund (details below). If you can, go to the picket lines to show your solidarity. If you can’t do that, post a solidarity message in the thread below, which we will print out and give to the workers, or send messages directly to them at michael.oneill3@gmail.com.

Having visited the picket lines in Carrick-on-Suir and Ballyneety with other members of the Socialist Party, it’s clear that the strikers are determined to see this battle through to the end. A strong fight reaching out to workers and ordinary people across the region is needed to force Mr Sheahan to back down.

Stepping up the struggle
Solidarity is needed in this dispute. If Mr Binman succeeds in breaking the resistance to the cuts in Carrick-on-Suir, workers in other depots will soon be expected to take the same cut in wages. Workers in the Limerick and Waterford depot are undoubtedly looking on to see how these workers do. But, in order to win, those workers will have to be brought into the struggle.

Mr Binman is just one of a wave of employers currently trying to impose vicious wage cuts or sacking people with terrible redundancy packages. Often the recession is used as an excuse. They want workers to pay the price for the crisis caused by the rich. Yet the union leaders nationally still limit themselves to begging for better social partnership. This dispute highlights that the bosses are not our partners. The unions need to link these struggles together, workers everywhere need to be brought together to fight back.

The bosses and the government’s cuts will leave workers able to spend less and less, worsening the crisis, leading to more job losses. Workers must halt this vicious circle by fighting for their rights. Workers in Mr. Binman have taken a stand, as have the electricians and others. All these fights are struggles not just for the workers involved, but for us all. A line in the sand has been drawn, and a fight has begun to defend pay, jobs and workers' rights.

Strike Fund Details
Please post a solidarity message in the thread below, which we will print out and give to the workers, or send one directly to them at michael.oneill3@gmail.com. Tell your friends to read this article, and watch the video below.

Make a donation to the strike fund, so the workers can afford to go on

Donations to: SIPTU (Mr Binman) strike fund, Account number: 263 659 21, Sort code: 90-59-69 Bank of Ireland, Main Street Carrick-on-Suir

Related Link: http://www.socialistparty.net

Caption: When visiting the Picket line in Carrick-on-suir a few weeks ago, the Socialist Party did this interview


author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party/ CWIpublication date Fri Aug 07, 2009 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to update everyone -

Last Friday in the High Court Mr. Binman lost his case in trying to get an injunction against the striking workers.

The workers are planning on stepping up their action in the coming week.

 
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