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Eye Cinema suspends and dismisses SIPTU members

category galway | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Thursday September 20, 2007 14:04author by Labour Youth Report this post to the editors

Ten students who are SIPTU members working in Eye Cinema at Wellpark in Galway have been suspended after voting for industrial action. The SIPTU shop steward has been sacked following the ballot.

The students had been attempting to address a number of issues in relation to their working conditions. These issues include: a failure by the cinema to pay the staff any increments for working on Sundays or after midnight, which is an entitlement under law, and also in some cases, a failure to pay several staff members holiday pay, once again an entitlement under law.

You can email your complaints to the company who own them Edward Holdings:

GMIT Student Union, SIPTU in Galway, Michael D Higgins T.D. and Labour Youth have all come out in support of the students.

author by Galway residentpublication date Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Galway is notorious for abuse of workers, particuarly students and migrant workers. The mainstay of the local economy is tourism and low end multinationals, most of whom enjoy the benefits of having a flexible workforce that they can use, abuse and mistreat as they wish.

On a personal level, I know of dozens of people (mostly under 30) who have been verbally abused, manipulated and taken advantage of my employers who enjoy huge profits from grant benefitting companies of tourist orientaged enterprises.

The pubs and cafes of Shop and Quay street are particuarly bad for this practice and many employers think nothing of dismissing employees on a whim, knowing they can replace them within hours through the many backpacking, migrant and student job seekers that pop in.

In many cases workers are not given adequate breaks or indeed sick pay or holiday pay. Many are not even registered as employees and over-time is almost unheard of. The norm is for employers to keep workers dangling on on their text messages, not knowing what day or hours they'll be working from one day to the next.

Despite this widespread pratice, I have heard virtually nothing from the union movement or indeed the state structures responsible for fair pratices. I am therefore pleased to hear something is happening in relation to the unions and the Eye cinema.

I would encourage everyone to join forces with the students and to help start petitions, media campaigns and local outreach to highlight the problems in Galway.

author by Diogenespublication date Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps i'm wrong but I was under the impression that you cannot be dismissed for participating in official industrial action.

author by pat cpublication date Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are right. But you have to prove your case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. A long drawn out process.

author by Gilmore Girlspublication date Sat Sep 22, 2007 18:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think that the actions of this employer should be raised and there should be a vibrant campaign against them. I think anyone raising this should be supported. However, any people that believe that Labour will really give 2 sh*ts about this are mistaken. Labour are one and the same as the establishment in this country (and in other countries - Mr Blair?). Labour are in power in the Dublin local authorities and they do nothing to stop the rampant property development that has resulted in the schools crisis in Fingal and there is no Council homes being built under Labour councils. All this so that property developers can get their bit. Young workers are working long hours, commuting large distances and paying massive mortgages so that they pay these people's profits. And Labour are in power on Councils and won't build Council homes. It's excellent to see any workers challenge their exploitative bosses. It's excellent to see them supported. But it would be wrong not also to note that ultimately Labour & SIPTU officials are misleaders due to their pro-capitalist, pro-partnership and pro-coalition politics. Keep up the fight!! Keep Control of your fight!! And keep a healthy distance from Labour!!

author by X - XXpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 17:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I had to walk by the picket line on Saturday night - there was no explanation / leaflets to inform people of the issues. Have SIPTU left these people to fight for themselves?

author by Worker's Angerpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 18:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I had to walk by the picket line on Saturday night "

You HAD TO walk past a picket? That is what you call scabbing. There is no two ways about it. Simply don't go into the cinema and go elsewhere. There is nothing worse than a scab. The type of people that should be excluded from society. If you were a member of my family I'd throw you out of the house! While there are hardcore scabs... there are also idiots that know no better. SIPTU do need to increase publicity and they need to shut down that cinema. Get posters, public meetings and leaflets sorted. Organise a picket of hundreds of workers and supporters to shut down that cinema until these workers get justice. "Gilmore Girls" is right about these SIPTU officials being misleaders.

author by Observerpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 18:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The poor chap did not say he "passed" the picket, he said he went "by" the picket line. Different thing altogether unless his English is as bad as your own!

author by Jimbob.publication date Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

" I just wanna see a film. It's not my problem.
Oh, I know in the back of my mind that in order for the film to be shown, they need ticket sellers, ushers, cleaners and a projectionist... and of course if I want a coke, popcorn as well, while I'm sitting on my ass,,, and someone has to provide these things. ... Is it my business if they get screwed while I tune out of the real world to watch car chases, shoot outs, or romantic comedy? "

Come up with some posters, banners, and leaflets hitting those buttons and you'll get better results than a few soundbytes from Labour. Even though I respect Michael D, he's a TD and he won't be there every day to make the difference. Tap into the consumer, wake up their conscience and see if there's a citizen hiding under the brand names and the pop culture. Less bums on seats will get your bosses attention.

I might be in Galway on Thursday, if I am, I'll try spend some time on the picket line.

author by Jimbobpublication date Fri Sep 28, 2007 20:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was at the Eye Cinema in Galway on Thursday, and no picket...
what's the story? Did the boss give in or did the workers crumble?

author by picketerpublication date Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I, along with about 25 members of the public attended a protest in front of the Meyrick hotel, Eyre Square on Friday in support of Eye cinema workers in their struggle against illegal wages and conditions and attacks on their right to unionise. Apparently just beore the protest started Eye cinema management made a last-minute offer (which apparently did not involve union recognition or management agreeing to sign an anti-victimisation pledge) which the workers' SIPTU organiser had advisee them to take. We stayed outside the hotel in solidarity until a SIPTU official arrived asking us to disperse so as not to geopardise the (sellout) deal.

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