Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/647/10629
Support the Laura Ashley strikers
IN SEPTEMBER bosses at the Laura Ashley clothing outlet in Dublin, Ireland abruptly told their 22-strong, predominantly female workforce that the shop would be closing. This was despite pre-tax profits of £10.5 million in the first half of the year.
Michael O'Brien, Socialist Party Ireland
The bosses had sold the leasehold on the property to Disney for a lucrative price. The workers were initially given the impression that they would be successfully redeployed within the chain of stores.
Disregarding the loyal service of its staff, many having worked there for over ten years, the employers then, disgracefully, offered the statutory minimum of two weeks pay for each year of service, of which the company can claim 60% back from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Innovation.
The company adopted a crude anti-union stance and refused to engage in negotiations with Mandate [the trade union involved] regarding either saving jobs or the improved redundancy conditions. The workers had no choice but to take strike action since 22 October.
Spirits were high among the workers on the first day of the picket with many people offering support. A branch of the Civil and Public Services Union officially communicated their support to the workers. Members of the Socialist Party in Ireland have visited the pickets every day, discussed tactics with the striking workers and organised fund-raising to support them.
Joe Higgins, Socialist Party MEP for Dublin, visited the picket line to show his support and said: "We support the workers 100% and call on the working people everywhere to support the picket in Grafton Street and for Mandate to mount a campaign to save the jobs."
Unfortunately support and advice has not come from the union leadership who have instead tried to block escalation of the campaign.
Socialists in the Committee for a Workers' International have shown solidarity with protests at Laura Ashley outlets in Antwerp, Brussels and Edinburgh and at the headquarters in London.
Please sign the petition at: www.mandate.ie
In The Socialist 17 November 2010:
Socialist Party youth and students
War and occupation
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review