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Film Review: "The GAMA Strike: A victory for all workers"
Initially they stayed off camera but within time they found their voice.
Review of a documentary on the struggle of the Turkish GAMA workers in 2005 which premiered to a packed house in Wynn's Hotel on Middle Abbey Street on Thursday 27th July.
Admittedly I've always been sceptical/suspicious of political parties and their motives, regardless of their place on the political spectrum, from one extreme to another. Its always in the back of my mind that any statement or action is being done simply for the goal of obtaining more seats at the next local/general/european election. Far left parties arent excluded from this either. The vista of a Leninist party sweeping into power isnt particularly attractive to me; having visited Castro's socialist "paradise" there were many aspects of that society which were deeply troubling and repulsive, most notably the censorship of all opposition as "counter-revolutionary", and the suppression of ideas and literature that didnt slot into the mono-view of one party Marxism. The bookshops were permitted to stock tomes praising Chavez, but you'd never realise that the Zapatista insurrection had taken place across the water. But that's another day's article...
More Indy coverage: Downturn in Irish Construction Industry | Top Dublin Hotels displacing Irish staff | Aer Lingus privatisation exposes folly of partnership | GAMA: Company Forced To Pay ALL Workers Proper Union Rates | National Day of Protest Against Irish Ferries | Joe Higgins' Challenge to Irish Trade Unions: Protect Migrant Workers | Exploitation of Workers | Picket outside Dunnes in support of Joanne Delaney | Gama Workers' Strike Wins Back Stolen Cash
Mick Murphy, a Socialist Party councillor in South Dublin, picked up the baton and decided he was going to uncover the truth of what was going on. His first attempts to approach the building workers resulted in them running away in the opposite direction, which shows the fear and intimidation these workers were being subjected to. The builders had been brought over from Turkey on dodgy working permits, and were being paid 2 to 3 euro an hour, as well as working 80+ hours a week with no overtime. The company had isolated them as much as possible, and despite being members of SIPTU, Ireland's largest union, they had no idea of how to organise or improve their dire working conditions. But Murphy persisted, had a leaflet translated into Turkish explaining to the workers that they were welcome in Ireland, and constructed a small table laying out exactly how much the workers should be earning if they were on the legal union rates of pay. Murphy hurled a bunch of these leaflets over the fence to circumvent security's efforts to prevent them accessing the workers, they were collected and distributed, and the discontent spread from there.