Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party representative on South Dublin County Council (SDCC) for the Tallaght Central area, has confirmed that he is to table an emergency motion at next Monday’s Council meeting in support of workers in dispute with Green Isle Foods in neighbouring Kildare. Looney, who attended last Saturday’s demonstration in Naas in solidarity with two workers on hunger strike, will submit a motion calling for the implementation of Labour Court recommendations in the case. The motion comes on the back of a similar call from Dublin City Council passed unanimously on March 1st in support of the workers, and similar proposals on Fingal County Council and Cork City Council.
Looney’s motion criticises Northern Foods, the British conglomerate who run the Green Isle plant, for their intransigence and refusal to engage in a meaningful way with the TEEU union representing the workers in the dispute. The motion further calls on the company to immediately reinstate the three workers involved as per the recommendation of the Labour Court Recommendation.
The workers have been on the picket line for over six months protesting at the unfair dismissal of three colleagues and the refusal of the company to allow them union representation. The Labour Court recommended the full reinstatement of the dismissed men and said they should be paid €180,000 compensation if the company does not reinstate them.
“It is incredibly sad that workers have had to resort to desperate tactics in this dispute,” noted Looney, “and all because of an intransigent company which refuses to engage with workers or recognise their right to collective representation through their union.”
“Given the immediacy of the situation caused by the hunger strikes of Jim Wyse and John Guinan, the company should move quickly to implement the recommendations of the Labour Court immediately and apologise to the workers for the appalling way in which they have been treated.”
“Green Isle employ a number of workers living in the catchment area of South Dublin County Council and supply foods to retail outlets across the county. It is entirely appropriate that the representatives of the quarter of a million residents in South Dublin take a stand in defence of workers’ rights in this instance, as we have done previously in other disputes, and as other Councils have done elsewhere.”
Looney’s motion, which is seconded by fellow Labour Councillor Eamon Maloney (Tallaght South), will be brought before the Council meeting on Monday if the dispute has not been settled by that stage.
EMERGENCY MOTION (text may be subject to change depending on developments):
Proposed: Councillor D. Looney
That this Council expresses its full support for the workers at the Green Isle Foods Plant in Naas, Co. Kildare, who have been on strike for six months in protest at the firing of three of their colleagues. This Council criticises the parent company involved, Northern Foods PLC, for their intransigence in the dispute, and for refusing to implement the recommendations of the Labour Court, or to permit the intervention of the Labour Relations Commission or National Implementation Body.
This Council, being deeply concerned at the extreme hardship imposed on the 13 men still on strike on foot of the dispute and the distress caused, particularly to hunger strikers Jim Wyse and John Guinan, calls on Northern Foods PLC to accept Labour Court Recommendation LCR 19698. This recommendation, which has been accepted by the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union representing the workers in question, will allow for the resolution of the dispute either through the immediate re-instatement of the three workers involved, or the payment of €180,000 in compensation.