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Turkish Builders Strike in Ireland
ireland / britain | workplace struggles | feature Wednesday May 11, 2005 22:53 by sovietpop - wsm sovietpop at hotmail dot com
An Injury to one is an injury to all
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.
On Mayday, Dublin witnessed the unlikely sight of building workers dancing in the street. Unfortunately these workers from the Gama construction company weren’t dancing for joy but were protesting against the theft of their wages.
GAMA is Turkey’s largest construction firm, with a total staff of about 10,000 in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Russia, Germany and Ireland. It specialises in large public projects like roads and housing estates. It is also involved in building and part owning new power stations and has been operating in Ireland for the last five years. It sees its Irish operations as an important stepping-stone to the European and the US construction market.
Gamma wins government contracts by underbidding the competition. And how do they manage to keep costs down? By taking wages from their workers.
The second document allowed the money to be transferred, the very next day, into a second bank account owned by an investment company called Ryder Investments NV. Outside Gama and Finansbank, and they aren’t telling, no-one seems to know who is behind Ryder Invesments NV, and what happened to the money.
Written for Anarkismo.net
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