Protestors today accused Irish regional secretary of UNITE Jimmy Kelly of double standards for refusing to talk to the sacked airport workers who are on their fourth day of hunger-strike.
In 1981 Mr. Kelly was the chair of the Hunger Strike Committee in Waterford which attacked Margaret Thatcher for her ‘intransigence’ in refusing to talk to the hunger strikers in the Maze prison.
Speaking after today’s rally outside Transport House in Belfast Gordon McNeill stated “Jimmy Kelly attacked Margaret Thatcher for refusing negotiations with the H-block hunger-strikers in the 80’s, but today he refuses to talk with members of the union who have been forced to go on hunger-strike to get justice. We were sacked after a union official, with the support of the leadership, repudiated our strike action in 2002 at a secret meeting with our former employers. The union seems happy enough to talk to the employers, but won’t talk to it’s members. Once again we appeal to Jimmy Kelly or any other senior members of UNITE to meet with us in order to resolve the outstanding issues. We are feeling the physical effects of our hunger and thirst strike as every hour passes and are determined that our union fulfils it’s commitments to pay the full legal costs and makes an offer of compensation.”
Issued on behalf of Gordon McNeill, Madan Gupta and Chris Bowyer