26 June 2008 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

Shock as Hibernian Insurance axes 580 jobs

IRELAND’S largest insurer, Hibernian, is to axe 580 jobs and transfer some of its services to Bangalore in India to save money.
Hibernian’s headquarters in Dublin will bear the brunt of the losses but jobs will also be shed in Cork and Galway.
The transition will initially involve up to 80 positions in early 2009 across Hibernian’s three centres in Dublin, Cork and Galway, a spokesperson said. “Over the full three-year period, up to an additional 500 positions are likely to move to Bangalore.”
The trade union, Unite, which represents 1,500 of Hibernian’s 2,200 workers, does not accept the company’s decision and says that it will be asking the Labour Court to look into the matter. The union is concerned about the large-scale transfer of sustainable jobs from Ireland to India.
The union has been having meetings with Hibernian for several weeks.
“They certainly haven’t said anything to us about India,” Unite national officer Jerry Shanahan told the Irish Independent.
“It’s definitely something we’ll be raising at the next meeting. We are totally opposed to any form of outsourcing.”



‘Boycott Israeli goods’ call by ICTU

THE Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has formally called for a boycott of Israeli goods and services to force it to adhere to international law and “cease its violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people”.
ICTU has also backed a policy of disinvestment from Israeli companies.
The boycott calls were made after a report was launched by a Congress delegation who visited Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and met with trade unionists, human rights activists and senior politicians.
Congress has also called for the Irish Government to initiate change at an EU level on Israel and Palestine.


International thanks to Irish seafarers and dockers

THE International Transport Federation (ITF) has passed a resolution at its Flags of Convenience Conference in Sweden congratulating trade unionists in Ireland for combating the exploitation and abuse of seafarers.
Ken Fleming, an ITF inspector in Ireland, and dock workers in Cork were applauded by ITF members for their efforts in the Flags of Convenience/Ports of Convenience Campaign. This campaign will be escalated by unions who are attempting to build closer co-operation between shore staff and seafarers to combat exploitation on ships which dock in Irish ports.
Ken Fleming said:
“In the past three years, the Irish campaign has recovered over $1.1 million and we have repatriated over 100 seafarers in very difficult situations.
“No less than six vessels were arrested. In one case the ship was sold because the owner simply used the port of New Ross to dump it and its crew rather than make good the debts he had run up over a period of months to creditors.”
Fleming also said he believes the campaign has raised awareness among Irish people of the potential threat that unregulated global labour markets pose to all of us, not just in terms of pay and working conditions but health, safety and civil liberties.
He also condemned the unwillingness of the Irish Government to guarantee collective bargaining rights.

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