“THIS IS an attack on terms and conditions that have been fought for and won over many years and now everything is being taken away at the drop of a hat so that MTL can make more profits”. John Walsh – MTL striker and shop steward.
At the beginning of July workers in the Dublin docks called an all out strike against the bullyboy tactics of their bosses. The management at Marine Terminal Ltd. have tried to force through redundancies and make the workers accept “take it or leave” contracts where they would be on worse wages and conditions.By Cillian Gillespie
In reality they are simply mimicking the same union-busting measures that they have carried out in different ports in Britain and in Belfast. MTL is owned by the Peel group in Britain and has assets worth almost £4.5 billion.
The day after the workers took their industrial action, the company took out an injunction against the workers preventing them from stopping trucks with cargo from crossing the picket line. This along with the fact that the workers are still being dragged in front of the courts for supposedly breaching the injunction has added to the difficult situation facing them. The company has also brought in scabs from Britain.
SIPTU and ICTU should use their power to mobilise all workers at Dublin Port into action to stop MTL from functioning. The unions should organise to stop the scabs from carrying out the strikers’ work – direct action with mass pickets could stop all traffic in and out of Marine Terminal Ltd.
The Industrial Relations Act and High Court injunctions cannot be allowed to limit the union’s actions. SIPTU and ICTU have the power to defeat these “obstacles”. If SIPTU leaders refuse to take the necessary steps to really back their members’ struggle, then the MTL dockers will have to take matters into their own hands. Mass united action by all dockers could defeat MTL and be a warning to all other employers in the port.This article, taken from the August edition of the Socialist, was written before the recent mass tresspass, and ‘floating picket’.