Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/419/4777
Solidarity with Irish Ferries workers
AROUND SIXTY Welsh trade unionists showed their support and solidarity with Irish Ferries workers at a rally in Pembroke Dock, called by the Wales TUC and International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).
NORRIE MCVICAR, ITF Coordinator UK & Ireland, told the rally that the show of solidarity boosted those on board the occupied Isle of Inishmore who are taking action to defend agreed terms and conditions.
He appealed for support from the East European seafarers hired by the employers, who want them to work for half the wages and worse conditions than those negotiated for the present crew.
Norrie correctly said in a leaflet to the East European workers, that the trade union battle was with Irish Ferries and not them.
He added: "(Irish union) SIPTU and their members don't object to seafarers from your country being employed by this company as long as you have the same agreed terms and conditions as them; the same health and safety regime (including safe working practice on hours of work and rest) and that your own human and trade union rights are protected".
The other rally speakers were all Socialist Party Wales members. ANDREW PRICE, NATFHE National Executive Committee, called for support for the Campaign for a New Workers Party to take forward the struggle to smash the anti -union laws. ROB WILLIAMS, TGWU Convenor at Visteon brought solidarity from his workplace and a speaker from South Wales NUM called for trade union support in Britain to be stepped up to ensure victory for the Irish Ferries workers.
In Pembroke town there was overwhelming support for the workers. Inevitably a few people just wanted to stop foreign workers coming into Britain for low wages but the vast majority wanted all workers to get union pay and conditions whatever nationality they were.
If the Irish Ferries employers got away with hiring cheap labour then who would be next in Pembroke, Wales and the rest of Britain in seeing their wages driven down?
Further support from the trade union movement is planned if this dispute is not successfully resolved.
Socialist Party members sold 106 copies of the socialist in Pembroke town centre and a further 16 papers at the rally.
In The Socialist 8 December 2005: