From Socialist Voice, March 2010

Workers in struggle

SIPTU has served strike notice on seven Dublin hospitals, to take effect from Wednesday 7 April and to last for two days. Nearly 4,500 low-paid workers will take part in this action, from 1 a.m. on Wednesday the 7th until 1 a.m. on Friday the 9th.
     The public hospitals involved are St James’s, St Vincent’s, James Connolly Memorial Hospital (Blanchardstown), the Mater, Beaumont, Tallaght, and St Colmcille’s (Loughlinstown). The strike is part of SIPTU’s continuing support for the campaign of industrial action in the public service to force the Government to reverse the cuts.
     The planned strike is in response to the refusal of the hospital managements to honour the terms of the “Towards 2016” transitional agreement, or to agree an alternative agreement, and to resist the subcontracting of the jobs of union members. Ambulance personnel from Cos. Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare may also join the strike. A series of rolling strikes in other hospitals will follow; and workers in the hospitals not on strike will contribute to the strike fund.

Aer Lingus cabin crew: resist or starve

As we have reported many times, Irish workers are experiencing a generalised assault on their wages and conditions. The latest is the announcement by Aer Lingus that all 1,200 cabin crew are to be sacked and then to be offered new contracts, with greatly reduced terms and conditions, including lower pay scales and changed work practices.
     If the company is allowed to get away with this it will look for 230 redundancies from the cabin crew later in the year. The redundancy of the workers selected will be compulsory, with only the statutory redundancy terms.
     The cabin crew rejected proposals for a €97 million cost-cutting involving six hundred redundancies that the management has been presenting to all the workers as a fait accompli. The cabin crew workers rejected this, despite the fact that their union, IMPACT—one of the most compliant and pro-“partnership” within the ICTU—recommended the deal. This follows an intense campaign of bullying by the management, ably supported by the establishment media.
     The airline is also to abolish the grade of cabin manager as part of a “delayering” of structures. The sixty-four existing cabin managers will be offered contracts as general cabin crew.
     The management is attempting to isolate the cabin crew workers from the pilots, middle management, ground operations personnel and craft workers, singling them out because of their resisting the management’s proposals in the first place.
     Aer Lingus cabin crew workers cannot be left to fight this battle alone. The savage cuts in their wages and conditions will be swiftly applied to all workers employed in Aer Lingus. The message is clear: resist or starve.

Bus Éireann demands that 250 workers be dumped

In the middle of March—on the same day that Aer Lingus announced that it was sacking all its cabin crews—Bus Éireann announced the latest phase in what it calls its “survival strategy”: making 250 drivers redundant, axing one route and curtailing eighteen other routes by the end of March.
     Bus Éireann, a state-sponsored company, claims it lost almost €30 million last year. The bosses are blaming falling demand, caused by the deepening economic crisis. They claim that the redundancies and the closures are necessary to save many of its 330 national routes.
     People living in rural areas will find public transport becoming more and more infrequent. Those using the daily Galway–Athlone route will have to use alternative buses after the service is cancelled from 28 March. Additional services to be affected include those in Cork, Sligo, and Tralee.

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