by Frank Schnittger
Mon Mar 1st, 2010 at 07:42:13 AM EST
The above is a short interview with the hunger strikers, Jim Wyse and John Guinan, at the protest march against Green Isle foods yesterday. They are currently in their 12th. and 5th. days on hunger strike in protest at the unfair dismissal of their colleagues in Green Isle Foods. A third hunger striker is due to join them on Wednesday.
For those who wish to know more about the background to the dispute, please see Irish engineer on hunger strike in support of dismissed colleagues and Week 2 of Hunger Strike.
Mainstream media reports that 300/400 people attended the march are rather wide of the mark: the true figure was closer to 1,000. Speakers included Jack O'Connor, the President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, who pledged the support of 840,000 Irish Trade Union members and promised to seek to enlist the support of 7 Million UK Trade Union members as well.
Media coverage focused on the scandalous, defamatory, and scurrilous Company claims that the strikers had downloaded pornography. In fact they had no internet access and had only received some e-mails from an anonymous source. Belatedly their Union is now talking about taking legal action to halt those slanders, but such legal actions are prohibitively expensive in the Irish legal system and really only affordable by well funded corporate bodies.
The real reason for their dismissal is that they had accessed some sensitive corporate files which the Company had inadvertently made available to them. Remarkably, the manager leading the media offensive against them is JJ Ryan who had line management responsibility for the IT and audit functions directly responsible for the lack of security on corporate management information systems and the lack of firewalls and spam filters on the corporate e-mail system.
front-paged by afew
I also conducted a short interview with Joe Higgins, MEP for Dublin and leader of the Socialist Party. I will add futher videos as they are uploaded to the internet - a process which seems to be taking a huge amount of time on my allegedly broadband connection!
Eamon Devoy, General Secretary TEEU, outlines the background to hunger strike to the assembled marchers. He is followed on the platform by John Guinan, one of the hunger strikers:
Most of the media coverage is leading on the Company slanders that the men downloaded "hard core porn" despite the fact that the Labour Court considered that evidence and ruled that the men had been unfairly dismissed and should be reinstated. Remarkably, both major daily papers are using the same PA report for their coverage.
300 join Green Isle march - National News, Breaking News - Independent.ie
Around 300 people have marched from the outskirts of Naas town to the nearby Green Isle Foods plant in support of workers protesting at the dismissal of staff.
Members of the Technical, Engineering & Electrical Union have been picketing outside the plant for the past six months, and two of the workers are on hunger strike.
The company said the dispute centres on the downloading of extreme adult material onto at least three staff members' computers, resulting in workers being sacked.
Irish Congress of Trade Unions President Jack O'Connor addressed protesters and claimed the company, which makes frozen food, was not prepared to observe the ruling of the state-run Labour Court which he said held with the men.
"There are 840,000 people on the island of Ireland who are members of trade unions. We have an obligation to ensure that by this day week (next Saturday) each and every one of them knows what was done...so that they are informed of that in exercising their preferences when shopping for their family," he added.
Last December the Labour Court ruled that the dismissals were unjustified and said its normal approach would be to recommend the workers' reinstatement.
The TEEU - which accepts that two workers were sent this material in e-mail form - denied the material was downloaded. Instead the spokesman said it was an unsolicited email sent from an anonymous source.
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 if the dispute is not resolved in the meantime.
A spokesman for Green Isle said the hunger strikes were "unhelpful". "The company is keen to reiterate that this issue relates to hardcore pornography and defending the download of over 700 pornographic images and movies that included sexual torture, sexual assault and bestiality," he said.
"In any civilised society, and in any company, this is categorised as gross misconduct, and the employees involved were subsequently dismissed. We cannot give any concession which would risk the safety at work of our employees or suggest that we tolerate such material. We stand firmly by our decision."