Sunday 22 October 2017

Hunger strike for workers' rights is not noble, it's sick

You are not looking for solidarity anymore but for sympathy and that's moral blackmail, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

For a while there, it looked as if the trade union movement had finally found an issue around which the workers of Ireland could congregate. Male ones, anyway.

That issue was the sacred right of employees to look at internet porn without facing disciplinary action from their boss. Disappointingly, though, the leaders of the strike at a frozen pizza packing plant in Naas insist that the adult material on various emails which the company used as an excuse to sack workers was a red herring, and that the dispute was actually triggered by the efforts of Green Isle management to victimise members of the Technical Engineering & Electrical Union who had bravely taken a stand against the company's unacceptable work practices. Or something like that.

Personally, I would have preferred if the dispute had indeed been about the rights of workers who wanted to look at pictures of silicone-enhanced women caught out during an apparent underwear shortage. At least there would have been a recognisably human component to the story. We've all wasted time online at work, after all. It's not a particularly smart move, especially during a recession, but anyone who's says they've never tried to get away with a bit of idling when the boss isn't looking is either a liar or a saint.

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