14 June 2007 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
Industrial at Irish Ferries berth in Cherbourg
French dockers this week took action against Irish Ferries ship MV Normandy by refusing to unload cargo amid claims that the vessel is owned by a firm that does not provide crew with their proper entitlements. The dockers are members of the CGT which is affiliated to the International Transport Federation who were conducting a week-long campaign across Europe which involved investigators boarding vessels to include checking on conditions, wage payments and general workers’ protections.
The ITF did call off the dockers action but only on the condition that Irish Ferries (and also Celtic Link) managements respond to its proposals for a collective agreement on ships operated by them by 15 June.
Fortuna 1 to be sold off
The International Transport Federation have announced this week that the Latvian-owned ship which has been impounded in Ireland since April will be sold in order to pay for the back-wages of its 11 crew members. Norrie McVicar an ITF co-ordinator for Ireland and Britain said that he had met with the owners of the ship but they had insufficient funding to pay the wages owed to the crew and the federation will now “assist the crew in sale of the vessel so that they can be paid.” McVicar went on to say, “Once again we have an unfortunate situation where the owners of the vessel have made statements about paying the crew, month after month, only to let them down. This should be a lesson to all shipping companies operating in Irish and British waters that such behaviour will no longer be tolerated.”
Union call for national pay talks
Siptu have called for talks for a new national pay agreement due to figures emerging showing inflation levels remaining over 5%, a doubling of the rate since December 2005 and seventh-highest rate of in the EU. This rate is expected to place further pressure on mortgage holders. SIPTU President Jack O’Connor for inflation to placed at the heart of Government agenda saying, “It is a fallacy to maintain that what has been driving this high rate is outside the control of any Irish Government. Quite the contrary, the impact of crippling mortgage repayments is not only due to the European Central Bank interest rate increases.” O’Connor also went on to say “The implications for the next pay agreement cannot be long-fingered. I am therefore calling today for negotiations on a successor agreement to Towards 2016 to be brought forward.”
ICTU have also said that unless a way to ease the cost of living was found by the Government they would seek to have talks on a new national pay agreement brought forward. Despite the concerns regarding the increasing cost of living, employers group IBEC have stated that they will oppose any move to go into pay talks and that they will only enter talks when the current deal expires in March 2008.