Connolly Shoes Strike - Two more strikers fired

Date:

Two more workers have been fired in the Connolly Shoes strike which was recently granted 'all out strike' status by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).  The four workers now dismissed have over 100 years service to the company between them and have been dismissed for refusing to sign a document in effect agreeing to accept any conditions imposed by management.  The strike is now in its 9th week with management refusing to enter into talks at the Labour Relations Commission.

The workers are in the Mandate trade union which outlines the causes of the strike as follows:

Last autumn, the workers held a strike but the action was suspended as a result of agreements reached between the workers and their employer which would see staff working reduced hours as a compromise. However, since then management have:

•    Reneged on that agreement with regard to staff working a 3 day week. They have changed rosters and further reduced hours without consultation;
•    Issued an ultimatum to certain staff insisting that they agree to work any roster issued by management and perform any duties that management deem necessary or else face dismissal;
•    Actually dismissed two employees, each with more than 30 year’s service, for not signing this document;
•    Been found guilty of breaches of the Payment of Wages Act, but have refused to pay the compensation awarded to staff;
•    Continued to refuse to recognise Mandate Trade Union or to attend Labour Relations Commission or Rights Commissioners’ Hearings.

Mandate and the workers involved have made genuine efforts to resolve all of the issues with the employer in order to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. However, we have been met with continued aggression and hostility since we called off the initial strike. It’s clear that management played off the trusting nature of their employees by negotiating a settlement in order to end the dispute last autumn, and then continued with the unilateral deterioration of their terms and conditions.

Gerry Light, the Mandate Assistant General Secretary condemened the "deplorable behaviour from a company which is blatantly ignoring workers fundamental rights contained in current employment legislation. The actions of management in Connolly Shoes is clearly a breach of the workers’ fundamental employment rights and represents the tearing up of long established statutory employment legislation developed to protect ordinary workers as they participate in official industrial action.

It seems incredible that the Director of Connolly Shoes, Matthew Connolly, and his business partner, Mr Aidan Nevin, have allowed this dispute to continue as long as it has. ... He has now sacked four workers for asserting their employment rights rather than try to sit down and discuss the issues at hand like a responsible employer should do."
 

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