Friday, September 18, 2009

Delay on Transfer cannot go on indefinitely

September 17th 09

No to Lisbon in Cork

Delay on transfer cannot go on indefinitely

This blog spent Wednesday afternoon in Dublin and Leinster House. The government was unveiling its proposals to bail out its banking and developer friends. NAMA is the name of the game.

On Thursday I was in Cork. Preparations for a victory against Kerry’s footballer are well afoot, if a little premature.

It should be a thrilling encounter but no one knows – and that’s the great thing about it – no one knows if the kingdom or the rebel county will prevail.

I’m not fully recovered from the hurling final but all being well Sunday will see me in the Hogan Stand. The hurling was awesome.

The Lisbon Treaty is less so but that’s another story.

The response from people on the streets of Cork suggests many are still equally opposed to Lisbon. The referendum is only two weeks off so there’s a lot of work to be done.

While in Cork City me and Richard joined a picket of workers who have been treated shamefully by the Coca Cola company.

In a scenario similar to Visteon, 120 workers – some with 40 years service – have been sacked by company bosses who want to outsource the jobs at lower wages.

They are for the Labour Relations Commission on Friday. Even this was resisted by Coca Cola.

It’s bad enough that companies are paying off workers because of the recession – it’s a disgrace that a very profitable enterprise like Coca Cola is leading the race to the bottom.

Meeting Coca Cola Workers in Cork

Meantime the DUP is still footering about over how it will conduct itself in the Executive in the north. Elements in the party are still resisting equality for all citizens and partnership in government.

Martin McGuinness was in Downing Street this week trying to get the First Minister to honour his obligations, particularly on the issue of the transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast.

The delay in the transfer of these powers cannot go on indefinitely. This is a crucial issue of concern for every citizen. It is not about creating another crisis.

It is about communities who are deeply anxious about public safety issues.

This is about families who want to be sure about safety in their homes, secure and safe in public places and who want to know that if they fall foul of criminals that they can have confidence that the perpetrators will be pursued and a transparent system of accountable justice is in place to deal with the perpetrators in a fair and just way.

We can’t have that while the British retain control of policing and justice powers.

We can only have that if there is a local Minister and all of the other mechanisms in place.

There is a real sense that this issue has gone on too long.

The DUP agreed a process with Sinn Féin. It was widely publicised at the time. I like to think that Peter Robinson is a man of integrity and I look to him to keep to the agreement he made.

The British government clearly has a responsibility to honour its obligations under the St. Andrew’s and other commitments which they gave in relation to financing and funding.

So this blog looks to Peter to do the right thing by the people he represents and by the wider society here in the north eastern part of the island.

He cannot allow party concerns around Jim Allister to hold up progress on this matter. Jim Allister lost the election. The vast majority of people voted overwhelmingly for partnership government.

There clearly are elements within the DUP who are not for partnership and equality. Sinn Féin has to be patient but there is also a need to be assertive and determined to ensure the implementation of all of these issues.

This can’t go on indefinitely. There has to be delivery. Republicans are not into setting up deadlines or worrying about who blinks first; this issue is more important than all of that.

It’s about people’s right’s rights. Just like the Lisbon Treaty debate or the need to campaign against NAMA.


Paul Doran said...


I got this my friend in Dublin
on the picket.

Now entering my fourth week of strike duty at the Coca Cola HBC’s Ballycoolin plant. A day that myself and my 60 work mates thought we would never see. 18 of us with fixed term contracts joined Coca Cola HBC over a year ago with the promise of permanent employment. How wrong were we? How sad and disappointed are we, as most of us left full time employment to join Coca Cola HBC thinking it would be a job for life?

We were notified recently of the company’s proposal to outsource all jobs in distribution. This will affect over 50 people immediately in Dublin. There are also depots in Cork and Tuam to consider who have no futures. 130 people in total will be affected.

SIPTU balloted staff for strike action with an over whelming “YES” majority. However, some of the people who voted in favour of strike have now returned to work. They went from “YES” to looking at us with disgust as they pass our picket each day. Our protest seems to be only a major annoyance to them. Imagine how we feel. What we strike for now will ultimately benefit them in the future. What little thanks as they could be next.

We believe a company who has made over 200 million profit in the first half of this year are most certainly in a position to keep all staff employed. They openly admit that outsourcing is the cheapest way forward, totally at our expense.

We protest about our 45% to 70% pay cuts and loss of pension rights for staff, only if the third party companies offer positions to us. It is supposed to be a transfer of undertaking, where staff are transferred with the same salaries and same pension rights. Pay cuts of that level are totally unacceptable in modern Ireland with such a high cost of living. A long bleak future of unemployment for the unsuccessful. The average 10% pay cut the majority of Irish people had to take would be most welcome.

Gokhan Bilgic managing director of Coca Cola HBC told the staff we had the highest output per man and that we set a high standard for all distribution points to follow. He was very happy, however this was not enough.

This is the first all out strike Coca Cola has seen in its 50 year history in Ireland. Our pickets are 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We fight for the right to be treated fairly and for our hard work to be recognised and appreciated.

Michael Kerrigan, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

Timothy Dougherty said...

Thank again Gerry, You seem to have hit the spot. Coco Cola and the criminals, The criminals in the world often are in their office space doing the act.Particularly on the issue of the transfer of policing and justice powers. The criminal minds in London show little accountable.If justice is to be in place to deal with the perpetrators change must take place.How long is to long? any more time on the issue of the transfer of policing and justice powers is to long. The British retain control of policing and justice powers, like some large Internation company ,holding on to power fixed in the mind and hands. The criminals are in control and that is a crime.

Ed Feighan said...

Well Gerry, after knowing and supporting you all these years we finally disagree. Not on the topic of Coca Cola using cheap labor for distribution because I spent 35 years as a union elevator constructor and we fought every non union scab company that tried to take work away from us, and I do support you on the no vote thats coming up but when it comes to football I and all the friends I have met in Killarney over the years I will be rooting for Kerry. May the better team win. Sorry E.F.