The lockout of workers by Greyhound Recycling and Recovery is entering its fifth week with the solidarity of the men unbroken and the employers’ disinformation campaign being increasingly exposed in the media.
Strike committee member, Thomas Cummins, said: “This dispute has made the men closer as a group and our solidarity is increasing as this goes on. This is simply a dispute we cannot afford to lose.”
The workers have been locked out at the waste disposal company plant in Knockmitten, west Dublin, since 17th June. Management at the company is attempting to force workers to accept wage cuts of up to 35% and has employed strikebreakers to carry out waste collections during the dispute.
In an indication of the premeditated nature of the management of Greyhound’s actions, on the day the workers were locked out security guards had been hired to ensure they could not enter their workplace.
The activities of Greyhound Recycling and Recovery are creating anger within communities. Today (Monday, 14th July), local activists halted bin collection trucks for a several hours in the Drimnagh area of Dublin. Local TD, Joan Collins, and Dublin City Councillor, Pat Dunne, took part in these peaceful protests.
On Monday, 7th July, the workers and hundreds of supporters marched to Dublin City Hall demanding the men be allowed return to work under their existing terms and conditions of employment while talks on changes at the company are underway.
In recent days the men behind attempts to break the workers resolve by the employment of strikebreakers have been exposed in newspapers including the Irish Mail on Sunday and Irish Times.
Central to the attempts to break the workers is a former employee of Greyhound, Calin Bogdan, who is supplying strikebreakers to Greyhound.
Romanian national Bogdan is not on the published list of licensed employment agents and agencies maintained by the Department of Enterprise. However, in a submission to the Labour Relations Commission, Greyhound stated that during March and April this year it paid Bogdan €75,860 for services provided alongside smaller sums to other ‘recruitment agencies’.
The company established by Bogdan in January last year, BCR Transport and Collection Ltd, also uses the same Crag Industrial Estate, Clondalkin, Dublin, address that is the registered address of a number of Greyhound Group companies. A spokesman for Greyhound claimed last week that it was unaware of this sharing of addresses until contacted by a newspaper.
Speaking on RTE Radio on Sunday (13th July), SIPTU Utilities and Construction Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: “This lockout has resonated with working people because I think people are thinking we are coming out of the economic recession. Then they see a group of workers that have given a 30% productivity increase last year without any concession on pay, who have been asked to give a 30% cut in pay who are standing up and fighting back. I think a lot of people are saying fair play.”