Striking Irish dockers win social welfare appeal payout

Striking Irish dockers win social welfare appeal payout

24 September 2010

Striking dockers in Dublin port [Photo: SIPTU]

Dockers who walked out on strike for eight months at a port in Ireland have been awarded a substantial payout by a tribunal.

The dockers, represented by the ITF-affiliated union Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), have been awarded more than 100,000 euros (US$134,000) by a social welfare tribunal. They took strike action from 2 July last year until 19 February this year at Marine Terminals in Dublin in a dispute over redundancies and wage cuts; the company responded by replacing the workers with strikebreakers.

The tribunal decision has been welcomed by the Marine Port and General Workers’ section of SIPTU as a major victory for the strikers. During the dispute the workers would have been entitled to 200 euros (US$268) a week in strike pay. The average award for each of the 17 men involved is 6,000 euros (US$8000).

SIPTU organiser, Oliver McDonagh, said the people involved in the dispute were “young family men and women with mortgages and other regular payments to meet.”

“They were put through financial hell during their eight months on the picket line. During the strike they were informed that they were not entitled to any social welfare payments so the union decided to make an appeal to the social welfare tribunal on the grounds that the company did not properly utilise the dispute resolution machinery of the state,” he continued.

“This was an important success for the union and we are calling on the minister for labour affairs, Dara Calleary, to ensure that all companies coming to Ireland respect the industrial relations machinery provided by the state. Companies trying to bypass procedures and undermine the terms and conditions of union members must not be allowed to do so.”

“The case was won in the tribunal in the face of an aggressive submission from the company. I am personally delighted for the employees concerned and their families,” Oliver McDonagh said.

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