From Friday, over 40 workers have been occupying the Thomas Cook store on Grafton St., protesting against job losses and claiming for improved redundancies. The workers, all members of the TSSA (Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association) had balloted for strike action due to commence this Friday, but this was cut across by the company’s response to push forward the closure of the store by 4 weeks. The workers were then left with no alternative but to occupy the premises. At approximately 5am over 80 Gardai began to force entry into the occupied Thomas Cook store on Grafton Street, after physically removing over 30 supporters from in front of the premises.
Gardai smashed the glass of the front window of the store in order to gain entry. Workers were removed one by one from the building, including a woman who is eight and a half months pregnant. Cllr Matthew Waine of the Socialist Party and Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit were occupying the building in support of the workers and have also been arrested.
Cllr Matthew Waine of the Socialist Party said: “It is an absolute disgrace that the state have moved to protect the interests of the profiteering multinantional, Thomas Cook by doing their dirty work. These brave workers have taken a stand, not only for their own rights, but also in the interests of the mass of working people in this country who are getting it in the neck from the government and the employers.”
Cllr Matthew Waine continued : “A woman worker who is due to give birth imminently was removed from the premises by the Gardai. Shamefully, as she was removed in an ambulance the Gardai refused her request that her husband be present with her. In contrast, Thomas Cook boss, Manny Fontenla-Novoa made a bonus of £7 million last year for his job culling approach – the Irish government have shown clearly yet again they’re shamelessly on the side of the bankers and millionaires”.