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The giant supermarket corporation TESCO's recently fired two migrant Polish workers at its depot in Dublin, Ireland. They were demanding an end to the speed up in work rate, equal rates of pay for temp and permanent workers and for contracts for everyone who had worked at the depot three months or more.
It appears that TESCO may have cause to regret this action as far from lying down the workers concerned have organised with others to fight back. This started with a picket outside the depot which resulted in a two hour stoppage inside (under the cover of a union meeting - a common way of getting around anti-strike laws in Ireland).
Now the sacked workers are at the centre of a campaign demanding a change in conditions at the plant that has seen solidarity actions take place in Poland - actions which are spreading to other parts of Europe including Britain
argentina / uruguay / paraguay / workplace struggles Tuesday May 31, 2005 20:54 by José Antonio Gutiérrez D
Argentina surprised the world on December 20, 2001, when a spontaneous popular uprising obliged the former president, to resign. It seemed that all of a sudden the most prosperous economy of Latin America was on shaky ground. Popular assemblies flourished in almost every neighbourhood while the piqueteros went on the offensive.
The left felt over confident about an achievement in which really no group or party merited hardly any credit at all. Some people definitely thought that the December upheaval had gone further than it really had and that the revolution was around the corner. In reality the situation in Argentina has not improved at all with the ruling classes returning to the offensive while : 40% of the population is still living in poverty while hunger affects the stomach of 25% of the population.
We have to start thinking seriously of the sort of problems faced by the experiences of working class resistance in the pre-revolutionary period - the relationship between property relations and management of production, for example, as clearly posed by the experience of the seized factories
At my old job, if we had formed a workplace committee that fought for everyday issues we faced at work we would have been able to win more support for the union organizing effort we were undertaking. If my co-workers had been able to feel a sense of power at work, a voice, hope, instead of despair and futility about the issues at work, then we would have seen it as the next logical step to form an official union while still carrying out our on the job direct actions. The way I see it, the best way to take collective action at work and to win the dignity, respect, and material gains we deserve is to form an autonomous workplace committee made up of only our co-workers and controlled by us.
Ireland is seeing a militant struggle by migrant workers fighting for the same pay and conditions as Irish workers. 900 Turkish workers and 300 Irish workers are employed by Gama. Under the Registered Employment Agreement for the Construction industry no worker can legally be paid less than 12.96 euros per hour. However Gama paid its Turkish workers as little 2.20 per hour.
The picture shows a Turkish worker carrying an Irish union banner on the Dublin Mayday march with the image of Jim Larkin on it. Larkin had been a migrant worker and IWW organiser in the USA in between being one of the main organisers of the early and militant general workers unions in Ireland.
Recently finished in college and active in the Dublin Grassroots Network, Cormac found a job . He describes how "The team leader structure and the way the three floors in the building were divided, created an air of division. The people who would be empowered with some puny token position were very patronising and authoritarian towards the people who were supposed to be below them, even though they were performing the exact same task in the shop on daily basis."
Mon 20 May, 07:17
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