Monday, August 3, 2009

Sit-Down Strike in Dublin!

Sunday 02 August 2009
by Tom Mellen

Occupying workers at Thomas Cook offices in Dublin are holding the building for a third consecutive day to press their demand for a fair severance package.

More than 40 workers, including two pregnant women, have occupied the company's Grafton Street outlet since Friday, when security workers turned up and announced that they had been ordered by Thomas Cook to close the shop.

Since then 40 more staff at Thomas Cook subsidiary Direct Holidays in Dublin's Talbot Street have begun their own occupation.

The direct action coincided with an announcement by the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) that members in the two shops had voted 100 per cent for strike action in response to the company's plans to quit Ireland by the end of August.

TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty said that he has been summoned to court over the incident, but added that workers would not be complying with the order.

"Members are still inside, the mood is euphoric, we are fighting this - the support we are getting from the court of public opinion is huge," Mr Doherty reported.

He stressed that "no strike breakers will be allowed into the shops while the sit-in continues.

"We are not moving until Thomas Cook agrees to sit down with us and reach a proper agreement - we are not going to be bullied and threatened by a company which is deserting Ireland after 125 years."

The company said that it was offering five weeks per year of service as a redundancy package, which will drop to two weeks if the workers do not accept it.

But Mr Doherty warned that if bosses hadn't improved on the redundancy deal by Tuesday he would urge the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to organise a boycott of Thomas Cook holidays by its 800,000 members.

The travel company had announced in May that it was shutting its high street operation in Ireland.

Some 77 jobs are being axed with the closure of the two Thomas Cook branches as well as a Direct Holidays outlet, although the latter is not due to shut until the end of the summer.

Thomas Cook insisted that it would maintain its Irish business at its back office and call centre operation in Parkwest, Dublin, with 70 positions being retained.

From "The Morning Star", the British Daily Communist Newspaper

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