Irish Ferries - Ships occupied


The (Irish Ferries) dispute escalated on November 24th when goons from a private security firm brought Eastern European seafarers onto the ships. If the ferries resumed sailing the dispute would be effectively over, with Irish Ferries winning hands down.Four ship's officers, John Curry, Brian Whitfield, Gary Jones and Vincent Hederington, barricaded themselves into the control room of the 'Isle of Inishmore' in Pembroke. The 'Ulysses' in Holyhead was similarly occupied. The third ship was tied up in Dublin, with harbour pilots and shore staff refusing to let it leave port.

This direct action, as opposed to passive appeals to Bertie Ahern or polite talks with management, is what turned public sympathy into solidarity. When the workers started to fight back the mood changed from one of feeling sorry for them to one of wanting to do something to help them beat the company.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the ICTU leaders went no further than a half day of action. They used our presence on the streets to strengthen their position for the next round of partnership talks rather than to inflict a decisive defeat on one of the meanest and most ruthless firms in the country.

From Workers Solidarity 90, Jan/Feb 2005
PDF file of WS 90