| 19.6°C Dublin

Family members join striking bin collectors' picket

Family members of picketing Greyhound workers joined in on a demonstration to show solidarity for the employees who have been striking since mid-June.

Almost 80 workers were joined on the picket line by wives, children, friends and fellow trade unionists outside the company's Crag Avenue depot in Clondalkin. The strike centres on a dispute involving proposed wage cuts of up to 35pc.

The supporters formed a human wall at the entrance to the depot and chanted: "You'll never break our spirit."

Dispute

The bitter dispute, which has been dragging on now for more than two months, is causing a lot of stress and uncertainty for the Greyhound workers' families, said Veronica Murray, whose husband Paul Murray is a driver for the company.

Mrs Murray said that families are having to choose between paying the mortgage or utility bills, but not both.

"It's difficult and it's getting harder," she said. "It's 10 weeks now."

Mr Murray, who has worked for the company for the past eight years, said he was compelled to action. "We have no choice," he said.

Among the protesters was Greyhound operative Tom Manly (55) and his wife Caroline Manly (54), from Clondalkin, who spoke of the toll that the dispute has taken on them.

"You can't pay your bills," said Mr Manly, who has worked for the company for 13 years and is now supporting his family on €200-a-week strike pay.

His wife, a mother of five, is on JobSeeker's Allowance.

"It's horrible," Mrs Manly said. "It's very depressing and emotional. It's a horrible 
predicament to be in."

The only consolation is the solidarity of other workers and their families who are in the same predicament, she said.

"When you see the support out here for the men and their partners and wives, it does give you a bit of a boost," she said.

SIPTU claims the workers were locked out when they refused to accept pay cuts and the company hired agency workers at minimum wage to do their jobs in the interim.

A Greyhound spokesman said the company is "anxious to settle this dispute" but SIPTU is refusing to go to the Labour Court or the Labour Relations Commission to seek binding arbitration.

"The collection crews are the best paid in Europe," he said.

"Even with a proposed 30pc pay cut, they'd still be paid 10pc above the (Irish) industry average."

Unionised

But Greyhound driver and SIPTU representative Vincent Cooney claimed the company wants to get rid of unionised representation at the company.

"We're the last group in the whole industry that is unionised," he said.

Greyhound has informed customers in Dublin 4 and 6 that there would be delays in collections "due to continuous incidents where our collection vehicles are being blocked by groups of protesters".

The company said the 
situation was out of its control.

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy