UPDATE : Press statement by TEEU, February 28th, 2010 –
“A number of media outlets persist in describing the dispute between the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union and Green Isle Foods in Naas as being about inappropriate emails.
This is not the case.
The dispute is over the unfair dismissal of three workers and union recognition.
The Labour Court, which has adjudicated on the dispute and which heard evidence from the TEEU and from IBEC on behalf of Green Isle Foods, found that the dismissals were unjustified. It recommended the immediate return to work of the TEEU members, no victimisation and compensation for the three dismissed men totalling €180,000 if the company was not prepared to re-employ them.
The persistent misrepresentation of the dispute is extremely damaging to the TEEU members on strike and particularly distressing to the hunger strikers, who did not access inappropriate material.”

The monthly Dublin picket to enforce the fact that , despite what the Free State regime may claim , Irish Republican prisoners are not ‘criminals’, will be held at the GPO , O’Connell Street, on Saturday February 27th 2010 , from 12.30pm to 2pm. The on-going struggle to remove the British political and military presence from Ireland is not a ‘criminal conspiracy’ , but a political campaign : those involved in that campaign are political activists and must be viewed as such by , amongst others , the political criminals in Leinster House.
Please show your support by holding a banner or placard at the GPO in Dublin on Saturday February 27th between 12.30pm and 2pm.

“Some of the family and lads are worried at the rate I’m losing weight….I’ve lost nearly a stone….”
– James Wyse, hunger-striking worker , from here.

“On November 1st, 1913, IT&GWU Branch Secretary James Byrne became the first trade unionist to die on hunger strike in twentieth century Ireland. On 17th February (2010), James Wyse of the TEEU became the first man in the twenty-first century to go on hunger strike in the course of an industrial dispute in Ireland. The issue that led both men to take this momentous decision was their belief that workers have a right to be members of a trade union and to be represented by that trade union in their workplace.
A second Green Isle Foods worker, John Guinan, who was a member of the Offaly team that won the Sam Maguire in 1982, joined James Wyse on hunger strike on Wednesday (24th February) outside the Green Isle Foods plant in Naas. Another colleague will join the hunger strike on Wednesday next (3rd March) if the dispute is not resolved.
On Saturday, 27th February, the Kildare Council of Trade Unions is holding a rally in support of the Green Isle Foods workers, assembling at the Storm Cinema car park in Naas at 12 noon. This will be followed by a march to the Green Isle Foods plant. I am asking every member who can attend to participate and show your solidarity with the men on strike.
They have been out for six months and it is only since James Wyse began his hunger strike that the company entered talks on a resolution to the dispute. Before that it not only refused to talk to the TEEU but rebuffed interventions by the Labour Relations Commission, the National Implementation Body and the Labour Court.

The dispute is over the dismissal of three TEEU members through an internal disciplinary procedure that denied them any representation by their union. Eventually the union referred the case to the Labour Court, which found the men had indeed been unfairly dismissed and should be fully reinstated or paid €160,000 in compensation. The company said it did not recognise unions and the Labour Court was not an appropriate forum to deal with the issue.

The shop stewards made a final effort to meet management and discuss terms for a return to work in January only to be rebuffed again. It was at that point that James Wyse advocated the hunger strike tactic and, as its proposer, insisted on being the first volunteer.

These men are defending a basic civil liberty to be represented in their workplace by a trade union if they so wish. It is a right recognised in virtually every other EU member state. These men not only deserve your support but it is in your interest as much as theirs that they win this struggle. Therefore I am asking each and every one of you who can to attend the rally in Naas on Saturday to do so and I am also asking you to sign the petition at www.teeu.ie on their behalf, if you have no already done so.”
(By Jack O’Connor, SIPTU)

RSF President , Des Dalton , has spoken in support of the Green Isle Food workers : “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.”

(From here.)

Please give a few hours of your time on Saturday 27th February 2010 to support the Green Isle Food workers (Storm Cinema car park in Naas at 12 noon) and/or Irish political prisoners (GPO Dublin 12.30pm) : the corrupt millionaire political barons in Leinster House have declared both groups to be their ‘enemies’ – whose side are you on?

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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