10 May 2007 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
Belfast Dockers picket May Day Parade
Twenty Belfast Dockers picketed Belfast’s May Day Parade on Saturday. The Dockers are dying from Asbestosis and are claiming that Ireland’s biggest trade union is indifferent to their plight.
One of the Dockers who took part in the protest, Arthur Rafferty, has said that SIPTU have refused to investigate their allegations that its “officials from its predecessor union failed to inform him and his fellow workers about the dangers of asbestos on ships they were unloading in Belfast port”.
Dockers usually receive compensation from employers in Asbestosis cases, however the men from Belfast have been waiting five years. “The union took no interest in our plight. I believe they don’t want to open up a can of worms from the past. But we’ll continue to keep at the union until they do something about it”, Rafferty said.
Ryanair workers mobilising
Ryanair workers across Europe are mobilising to take action against their employer after it emerged that Thomas Cook Airlines, which was non-unionised, had signed an agreement with Unite (the Amicus and TGWU super union). Unite will now have the ability to negotiate pay, working conditions and holidays on behalf of over 1,000 workers.
The International Transport Federation have welcomed the move by Thomas Cook Airlines and are now urging Ryanair to follow suit as they are currently mobilising Ryanair workers across Europe. ITF Aviation Secretary ingo Marowski has said that strong industrial action is not their wish, but they may be forced to follow that route. “If Ryanair continues to act as they do in Italy where someone emerges as a union rep and they throw them out, then we will play hardball. In Italy we are currently in court over it and we are very confident we will win,” outlined Marowski.
Latvian Crew still stranded off Irish Coast
Arthur Morgan TD has welcomed news that the Latvian Registered vessel the Fortuna 1 is to proceed to Dundalk Port following moves by the International Transport Federation and the Department of the Marines. For the past 6 weeks the vessel and its 11 crew members had been stranded off the Irish coast at the entrance to Carlingford Lough with no immediate prospect of getting paid the monies owed to them or getting home. The owners of the Fortuna 1 stated they do not have the money to pay for essential repairs, the berthing fees for Carlingford harbour or the wages of the crew. “It is an indictment on both the Irish and Latvian Governments that these eleven crew men were left stranded for six weeks with no prospects of getting paid or returning home”, Morgan said.
Nurses’ dispute escalating
Nurses are upping their industrial action this week with two-hour work stoppages in hospitals and psychiatric services at 23 locations. This is to be followed by a series of three-hour stoppages at 8 locations. The dispute is now in its sixth week and nurses are now considering a ban on overtime as part of their action. No moves were made by the HSE to resolve the situation over the bank holiday weekend and the General Secretary of the Irish Nurses’ Organisation David Hughes has described the situation as a “complete stand-off.” He went on to say how the solution to the dispute is to give a date for the introduction of a 35 hour working week for nurses so their pay is in line with other healthcare professionals.