Jack OConnor and David Begg of ICTU to speak at Naas Rally today in support of Green Isle Foods workers and hunger strikers

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[Press statement, TEEU]

The President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Jack O’Connor and General Secretary David Begg, will both be speaking at the Rally in support of the Green Isle Foods workers and hunger strikers in Naas today (Saturday, February 27th). It is being organised by the Kildare Council of Trade Unions.

It will assemble at 12 noon in the Storm Cinema Car Park and march to the Green Isle Foods plant.

The men, who are members of the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, have been on strike for six months over the unfair dismissal of three fellow workers. Two of the men are on hunger strike as well.

Shop steward Jim Wyse is now in his eleventh day on hunger strike and John Guinan, a former Offaly All-Ireland footballer, is in his fourth day on hunger strike. A third TEEU member will join the hunger strike next Wednesday, March 3rd, if the dispute is not resolved in the meantime.

The hunger strikers took this momentous step after being on the picket line for six months, through one of the worst winters in living memory, and after the company rebuffed the efforts of the Labour Relations Commission, the National Implementation Body and the Labour Court to resolve the dispute.

The only independent body to examine the merits of the dispute is the Labour Court. It found the dismissals to be unfair and recommended that the men be reinstated and fully reimbursed for lost wages, or be paid a total of €160,000 in compensation for the loss of their jobs.

Note: Green Isle Foods is a division of the British conglomerate Northern Foods, which has a turnover of more than €1 billion and has received €43 million in Irish Government grants. It is the leading supplier of pizzas, frozen fish and frozen vegetables to Dunnes Stores, Superquinn, Tesco, Musgrave’s, Supervalu, Centra and Spar in the Republic. Amongst its best known brands are Goodfellas and San Marco pizzas, Donegal Catch and, of course, Green Isle vegetables.

For more information see www.teeu.ie.

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