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Dublin Opinion >>
Protest in support of sacked trade unionist
One year anniversary of shop stewards dismissal
Defend trade union rights.
Support sacked Dublin Bus shop steward.
Protest Rally Wed April 6th, from 12 till 2pm
Outside NBRU office on Parnell Sq West, Dublin 1.
It is 12 months since Dublin Bus dismissed Eugene McDonagh, the National Executive of the NBRU in Harristown Garage over an unofficial dispute in 2009.
The dispute arose over management’s decision to rush in changes on drivers schedules’ without adequate consultation. The unofficial action affected five garages over three days and involved over a thousand drivers. But Eugene was the only worker sacked after a lengthy investigation that involved widespread intimidation and threats against drivers by management.
A recent LRC inquiry into the dispute found that the company breeched its own procedures by holding meetings with drivers outside the disciplinary process after they had written to them threatening to sack and sue workers under the 1990 industrial Relations Act. The inquiry also found that the company knew that forcing in the disputed roster would trigger a dispute, but that they went ahead anyway.
Eugene McDonagh had worked for over 23 years with Dublin Bus, he had an exemplary record for driving, safety, and attendance. However he was also a vociferous defender of public transport and had publically opposed cuts to routes and services planned by Dublin Bus. In the months preceding the dispute Eugene had spoken at dozens of meetings across the city against the planned cuts to the network. We believe this and the fact that the Harrisontown garage had repeatedly rejected cost cutting measures made him a target.
We believe that Eugene ’s case is of huge importance to other trade unionists. The targeting of a shop steward in this manner and the threats to use the Industrial Relations act are designed to cower workers representatives and if unchallenged will be used in the future against other trade unionists.
Eugene is awaiting a hearing at the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT). There is at present a wait of over 15 months for hearings, a fact that is testimony to the inadequate right to appeal such unjust sackings. He has continued to campaign against his dismissal and raise awareness of the issues among the wider trade union movement.
To mark the anniversary he and his supporters will be holding a protest outside his union’s office at Parnell Sq at 12oclock on Wed April 6th.
Despite their rhetoric, officials have done NOTHING to push this case. Hundreds of workers have left the union in disgust at Eugene ’s sacking.The unions actual record on the case is appaling. After the dispute it suspended Eugene from union duties for standing by his members. It issued statements to the media saying Eugene was a ring leader of the strike. Its president oversaw one disciplinary interview with a driver that lasted over four hours and where the driver was called a liar and trouble maker and told he was facing the sack. He was asked to give a statement against Eugene, but was too shaken to write it out himself. The official was happy to help and wrote it out for him! He later retracted the statement saying he was placed under huge pressure by both manager and official to give the statement. Despite been retracted it was later used to dismiss Eugene.
The union knew that the company where targetting its reps but went along with the entire process dispite knowing that the company had given assurances to drivers at the end of the strike that no disciplinary action would follow if the strike ended.
Many drivers believe that its actions amounted to open collusion with the company to dismiss a militant union rep that had opposed cost cutting deals and argued against the officials in the union.Many believe that the union effectively gave a green light to dismiss Eugene. Since then it has played for time and tried to stop the drain of members leaving in anger at Eugenes sacking. It hinted it would take a Judicial Review.. it did not. It stated it was now in dispute with the company, but continues to work normally with management. In private its officials have made clear that it will do NOTHING to push Eugenes case.
For a once proud union with a history of unofficial action when needed, the case represents a end to its claims to be a strong militant and independent union. It is now a small conservative union ,no different in content to any other.
For more information contact;
Owen McCormack 0872858388 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Eugene at facebook under Eugene John McDonagh