22 October 2009 Edition

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Sinn Féin TD challenges Taoiseach on Coca-Cola and Dublin Port strikes

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Value of social partnership questioned in Dáil

THE Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government has dodged a call by Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh for a boycott by the Dáil and the Seanad of Coca-Cola products over the sacking of 130 Irish workers while the global soft drinks giant makes millions daily.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh called on Taoiseach Brian Cowen to join with him in supporting a boycott of Coca-Cola products in response to the company’s sacking of workers while they were on strike last month.
He pointed out that a Sinn Féin motion to South Dublin County Council to boycott Coca-Cola was supported by all parties, including the Taoiseach’s own Fianna Fáil councillors.
The Dublin Sinn Féin TD asked the Government and Fianna Fáil leader:
“Does the Taoiseach agree that any form of social partnership agreement is totally worthless unless it deals with the actual conditions that people face in their workplace?
“Does he agree that there is no so-called social partnership where the system allows workers to be treated by employers the way the workers in Coca-Cola and the dockers in Marine Terminals in Dublin have been treated?
“Will the Taoiseach join with me in deploring the action of Coca-Cola management in sacking its workers on 8 September last while they were on the picket line?
“Does the Taoiseach recognise the wider implications for all workers and for industrial relations in this state of the outsourcing by Coca-Cola of the jobs of 130 SIPTU members at warehousing and distribution centres in Dublin, Cork, Tipperary, Waterford and Tuam?
“Does he deplore the company’s failure to abide by Labour Court rulings and its determination to dump jobs and drive down wages and conditions?
“Will the Taoiseach join with me in commending South Dublin County Council which, on the proposal of Councillor Seán Crowe of Sinn Féin, voted to boycott all Coke products until the dispute is settled? All parties, including the Taoiseach’s party, supported this motion.
“Will the Taoiseach join with me in making the same call for the Houses of the Oireachtas to boycott Coca-Cola products?”

Last Wednesday week (14 October), in the Dáil, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Martin Ferris TD also raised the issue of the threat to Coca-Cola workers.
Deputy Ferris said:
“Coca-Cola Ireland is part of an extremely successful multinational company that continues to make massive profits. There is therefore no excuse for the proposed lay-offs or the other conditions which the company is attempting to force on the workers.
“Coca-Cola has also refused to abide by a Labour Court proposal regarding the redundancy package being offered to those whose jobs are to be destroyed. This is yet another example of a large company using the current economic situation to weaken the position of their employees and in that light it is incumbent on the Government to intervene and to ensure that the workers are treated fairly.”

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