Irish Ferries - Thousands of workers say no to slavery on the high seas

An estimated 150,000 took part in the day of action in solidarity with Irish Ferries workers across Ireland.

In the south’s biggest working class mobilisation since the seventies between 50,000 and 100,000 marched through Dublin, 10,000 to 15,000 Limerick, 15,000 in Waterford, thousands marched in Cork, over 1,000 marched in Galway, while thousands more marched in Sligo, Athlone, and Rosslare. They marched to defend the jobs of Irish Ferries workers and to demand the end of the use of immigrant labour to undercut and undermine jobs and conditions.

The banners of Trade Unions from across Ireland mingled with banners from Polish Workers Against Exploitation, with banners from various socialist parties, anarchist red and black flags and Trade Union banners from Scotland and the rest of the UK. School students had walked out to join the demonstrations as working class people came out on the streets in opposition to the bosses and in support with immigrant workers.

In Belfast over 70 people attended a solidarity picket at UTV called by the Belfast and District Trades Union Council. The UTV offices, Havelock House, were chosen because the Chairman of UTV, John B McGuckian, is also a non-executive director of Irish Ferries. BDTUC speakers slammed the overpaid Irish ferries directors attempting to exploit and abuse vulnerable migrant workers by using them to break the union organisation and drive down rates of pay and conditions.

The picket heard calls for McGuckian and Irish Ferries to resolve the dispute or step down from his position at Irish Ferries. Solidarity messages were read out from, among others, the Scottish TUC. There were banners from the B&DTUC, NIPSA Branch 8, SIPTU, Unison, ATGWU, Organise!, and the Socialist Party. Sinn Fein had people there with placards.

The picket successfully built upon a smaller one called earlier in the week by Socialist Democracy and the Irish Socialist Network and supported by Organise!, the Socialist Party and a number of independent socialist and trade union activists.

Many have commented that this marks the stirring of the sleeping giant that is the Irish working class, workers must begin the task of organising at work and in our communities to ensure that this massive demonstration of working class solidarity can be translated into effective action.

By Organise!

Posted By

Dec 12 2005 10:09


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