Protesters occupy their Dublin union offices

Protesters occupy their Dublin union offices

Following a dispute with union management, members of the Building and Allied Trades Union occupy and barricade the central offices.

A high court judge yesterday waded into the dispute, issuing an injunction ordering the union members to vacate the premises and dismantle a brick wall they had erected across the entrance.

The members and their supporters have been locked in an ongoing dispute with union management over the sacking of two union employees, and attacks on the pay and working conditions for union office staff. They are demanding the resignation of the union boss, Paddy O'Shaughnessy, who states that there is 'no question' of him leaving. Additionally, they demand that union finances are publicly audited.

The dispute started in May after the two officials were laid off without proper explanation. The former union employees are also members of the Unite union, and begun an official picket of the union offices in north Dublin. This has been consistently crossed by BATU officials, with O'Shaughnessy driving into picketers, and according to the socialistworld website, shouting “I see you’re swapping the red flag for the union jack, now” at the workers - a reference to Unite being based in Britain.

O'Shaughnessy is a member of the Executive of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, which has refused to hear complaints that the crossing of picket lines is bringing the organisation into disrepute. It also stated that as an internal dispute between employers and employees, it is not of its concern. In response, the builders have escalated their campaign through direct action, with around a dozen occupants in the offices at any one time.

Posted By

Sep 12 2008 11:28


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Sep 12 2008 12:44

So I'm not totally sure, are these definitely building workers, or union employees? I'm assuming they're probably union employees who used to be building workers

Sep 12 2008 13:43

Changed title - unsure about status of supporters

Sep 12 2008 13:45
Sep 12 2008 18:29
Sep 13 2008 00:41

The original strikers themselves are members of UNITE who work as fulltimers for BATU, however members of BATU have come out in support of them. The situation seems to be that the union claiming financial difficulties wanted to get rid of a few officals and choose to use the opportunity to get rid of the political ones, some of whom are members of the socialist party. The Socialist Party are using the opportunity to increase their leverege in BATU and hope to bring a BATU contingent into UNITE increasing their influnce there. Thei're are also suspicions that there has been alot of financial irregularities in the BATU union itself partly as a result of the building boom in Ireland over the last few years.

i am far from an expert on the situation though. is probably your best bet.