Strike support march shuts down MTL


SIPTU members at the MTL depot in Dublin Port have been on strike since the beginning of July, resisting forced redundancies and pay cuts. The company shipped in scabs from the North and Britain on day one to steal the dockers’ jobs, and also got a High Court injunction preventing effective picketing. The Port Workers Support Group (local trade union & community activists, including the Workers Solidarity Movement) held its second march of solidarity today (Monday August 10th).

Joe King reports:

“About 150 of us, including many of the Thomas Cooke workers who came with their union banner, gathered outside the school on East Wall Road. There were strikers’ families and neighbours, and supporters from further afield. Another 100 marched from Ringsend, and we met up at the East Link bridge. We then marched to the MTL depot and not a single truck got in or out for the hour and a half of our protest.<“Outside the depot we heard short speeches by striker John Walsh, Thomas Cooke worker Antoinette Shevlin, East Wall community activist Joe Mooney, SIPTU official Oliver McDonagh, UNITE’s British dockers’ delegate Mike Gibbons, Alan MacSimoin of the WSM, Cllr Matthew Waine of the Socialist Party, the Chairperson of the Croke Park Residents’ Association, People Before Profit’s Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett and Sinn Fein TD Aonghus O Snodaigh.

“Alan MacSimoin reminded us that there is a reason why we have ‘an injury to one is the concern of all’ on so many of our union banners. He said it’s ‘not just that we are nice people – and we are! – there is another good reason. If one of the port companies manages to impose an 18% wage cut, the other eight firms will have to try the same unless they want to be at a competitive disadvantage. We all have a real interest in resisting the race to the bottom.

“He went on to point out that ‘while the bosses can count on the support of the law, they are a small minority. Working people are the great majority and by force of numbers can win. That starts with us convincing our families, friends and work colleagues of the benefits of solidarity.’”

“The only controversial note of the morning was when Sinn Fein displayed a banner attacking ‘British scabs’ and supporting ‘Irish workers’. Several of the speakers pointed out that there are Irish scabs in MTL too, and that where you are from or what religion you have is irrelevant. Going by the applause, just about everyone in the crowd agreed that being British is not the problem, being a scab is.”

Jack London, (author of adventure novels like White Fang and Call of the Wild) came up with a pretty good description of this creature:

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab.

A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.

Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out.


The Support Group can be contacted at