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Striking Green Isle workers set for hunger strike

category kildare | worker & community struggles and protests | press release author Tuesday February 16, 2010 20:11author by B Report this post to the editors

TEEU says hunger strike at Green Isle Foods will last until dispute ends


TEEU shop steward Jim Wyse says tomorrow’s hunger strike at Green Isle Foods will continue until six months dispute ends

The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union shop steward Jim Wyse, who is to go on hunger strike from noon tomorrow (Wednesday, February 17th) outside the Green Isle Foods plant in Naas said the protest will continue until the six months old dispute is resolved. “They told staff inside that we could stay out here until we rot, and they obviously meant it”, he said. “We mean what we say too.

“For five of the last six months the company has refused to talk to us. In spite of all we have been through we contacted the company after Christmas to ask for talks on the basis of the Labour Court recommendations, which were in our favour. They wouldn’t meet with TEEU officials but agreed to meet us in direct talks. We accepted as we felt we had the Labour Court findings as a guide.

“There were three meetings over four weeks. Each lasted about ten minutes. They didn’t even bring a notebook with them. We even offered a compromise based on less than the Court’s terms.

“They said they would consider our proposals and came back two weeks later to tell us it would cost too much and to come up with something else. It was at that stage we decided they were just stringing us along.

“They are saying in the papers this morning that they have been organising new talks through a third party but this the first we have heard about.” Jim Wyse says that in the light of past events the hunger strike will not be called off until there is a resolution of the dispute.

“They want us to go back on new pay and conditions and leave the three lads dismissed. This protest has to start on tomorrow”, he said. “We have to save our dignity and self-respect. We’re not going to be walked on”. Jim will be staying in a caravan on the picket line during the hunger strike. Every week that the dispute drags on another man will join him on the hunger strike.

Jim Wyse and his fellow workers accepted Labour Court recommendations to resolve the dispute in December and again in January. The Labour Court ordered Green Isle to pay the dismissed men €40,000, €60,000 and €80,000 compensation respectively last December. When the company refused to pay the awards the Labour Court recommended the reinstatement of the men with full pay.

Jim is 58 and has been with the company 13 years. He is married with five grown up children, four grand children “and another one on the way”. His youngest son is with him on the picket line. “It is the younger people it is affecting most”, he says. One of the dismissed men, who has 16 years with Green Isle, has several young children.

The TEEU has called on fellow trade unionists to support the protest rally in Naas being organised by the Kildare Council of Trade Unions for Saturday February 27th in support of the men. The rally will be at the Storm Cinema car park in Naas and a march will follow to the Green Isle Foods plant, where the men have been on strike since August 2009.

The union’s General Secretary Designate, Eamon Devoy, says management has refused to engage with the TEEU, the Labour Relations Commission, the National Implementation Body or the Labour Court. “This totally unreasonable behaviour is being undertaken by a company that has received €43 million in state aid.”

He added that on December 4th, 2009, the Labour Court had issued a preliminary recommendation ‘that the parties negotiate a settlement, through an intermediary if necessary, and if no resolution can be found to revert to the Labour Court, who will issue a further Recommendation’. The TEEU accepted the recommendation. As the company refused to engage the Court issued a further recommendation on January 5th, 2010, stating that, ‘The Court believes that the appropriate redress in this case is that the workers be reinstated without loss of pay and the Court so recommends’.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has granted the TEEU an All-Out picket against Green Isle Foods. Its products include Goodfellas and San Marco pizzas, Donegal Catch, a variety of savoury filled pastries, potatoes and other vegetables.

Related Link: http://www.teeu.ie
author by Saoirse - Republican Sinn Feinpublication date Tue Feb 16, 2010 22:42author email saoirse at iol dot ieauthor address Teach Daithi O Conaill, 223 Parnell St, Dublin 1author phone 01 8729747Report this post to the editors

Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton
In a statement the Kildare based President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton expressed support for the striking workers in Green Isle , Naas, Co Kildare who have announced their intention to begin a hunger strike in their almost six-month long dispute. Des Dalton is also Vice President of the Athy/Kildare Branch of SIPTU.

Shop Steward Jim Wyse will commence a hunger strike tomorrow (February 17). If the company continue to refuse to accept the Labour Court recommendations a worker will join the hunger strike on each subsequent Wednesday.

“The workers at Green Isle have fought a lengthy battle to save jobs and to uphold the basic principles of justice in the workplace. Green Isle have refused to engage with the workers or their union the TEEU or accept the recommendation of the Labour Court that the workers they dismissed be reinstated without loss of pay. Instead they have used scab labour in an attempt to break the will of the workers and their union.

“The Green Isle workers have been forced to take the grave decision to embark on a hunger strike and it is the duty of all workers to rally to their support. Green Isle products should be boycotted and the general workforce at the plant must now come out in support of their fellow workers and bring this dispute to a head. No right won by working people has been gifted from above but has only come as a result of organised struggle. A class war is being waged on the working people of Ireland and it is time to fight back.” Des Dalton said.

Críoch/Ends.

Related Link: http://rsf.ie/rsf-kildare.ie
author by Trade Union TVpublication date Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:32Report this post to the editors

Kildare Trades Council has backed the strikers and has called a March for Justice in Naas to support the strikers on Saturday 31st October, assembling at 2pm outside the Kildare County Council offices in Devoy House, Naas.
Green Isle Foods of Naas, County Kildare, the makers of Goodfellas pizzas, are currently trying to break the union after sacking 35 workers on trumped up charges .

The strike of 35 engineers which has been ongoing at Green Isle for two months involves the sacking of other workers on separate specious charges who had become aware through company IT carelessness of Green Isle's plans to get rid of workers.
The company refuses to deal with the issues through negotiation with the trade union, the TEEU.
Collections and contributions to the strike fund; Current account, Uster Bank, Main St, Clane. Account No 10215914, Sort Code 985454.

Caption: Kildare Trades Council protest Oct 31st 2009


author by Villagerpublication date Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:42Report this post to the editors

Disgraceful behaviour by Green Isle. Just came across this boycott Goodfellas campaign on facebook which is in support of the Green Isle workers

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Boycott-Goodfellas-pizza/289963954975?ref=mf

author by connolly today - larkin tomorrow!publication date Fri Feb 19, 2010 07:58Report this post to the editors

the Athy/Kildare branch of SIPTU has donated 500 Euro to the Green Isle strike fund. RSF's President Des Dalton is also a Vice President of the Athy/Kildare Branch of SIPTU.

author by Cecil Rpublication date Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:31Report this post to the editors

If neither General Secretary Designate, Mr. Eamon Devoy, for all his militancy and bombast, nor “ President” Dalton of the RSF (also vice President of SIPTU in Athy – clearly a man fond of grandiloquent titles) can even get the other workers in the place to come out what possible hope is there in this – there must be little sympathy for this cause. The importation of the hunger strike weapon to an IR dispute simply demonstrates that IR issues should not get tangled up with the likes of RSF. That is the kiss of death for any cause. Any sensible trade unionist would run a mile from anything to do with RSF. All we need now is for the armed wing of the RSF to get involved too and we will have a fine old mess arising from such humble beginnings.

author by Northside Dublin Workerpublication date Sat Feb 20, 2010 15:07Report this post to the editors

Conservation between Cecil and his fellow upper middle class Kilmacud cronies: " Ooohh Cecil! Isn't absolutely outrageous that those god damn slaves (ooohh sorry I meant workers) have the cheek to go on strike. Hear! Hear! I agree time to bring back the death penality for anyone going on strike as they're commiting treason I say. Don't you agree my boy? Time to get our pals in the Independent Newspaper Group and RTE to start a vicious hate campaign against them as they have already quite successfully done with those lazy good for nothing civil servants and public service workers."

That seems to be the gist of what you are saying Cecil. Instead of attacking the strikers why don't you have positive solutions to offer? Btw. With a few honourable exceptions the name Cecil is associated with an upper middle class background.

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