Famous Five fight cause for 300,000 in Ireland
FIVE WHO OPPOSE WAGE CUT
'BIG JIM' LARKIN WOULD BE WITH THEM.
DUBLIN'S O'Callaghan Davenport Hotel likes to boast of its location close by the historic Georgian heart of the Irish capital. But five women from Lithuania and Poland are winning hearts by their historic battle for what's right in a struggle with the O'Callaghan Hotel Group.
The five women - Ingrida Balciuniene, Grazyna Ziemer, Raisa Jonaitiene, Jolita Nalusiene, Regine Balciuniene and Greta Pashuskiene, refused to sign new contracts giving up their right to a minimum wage of €8.65c an hour. Other workers in the O'Callaghan Hotel Group in Dublin agreed to sign away those rights.
The outgoing Irish Government pressed through legislation allowing for the minimum wage to be reduced, but gave assurances that this could not happen without the consent of workers affected.
However, at the Davenport Hotel workers have been brought into three meetings over the past three weeks and repeatedly told they must sign the new contracts or face being taken off the roster. They were not given a copy of the new contract, either in English or in their own languages.
The women have worked as cleaners at the Davenport Hotel for between four and six years. The new contracts would mean losing €1 an hour. They refused to sign them on 1st February when the new legislation came into force and have been removed from the payroll ever since.
The Irish union SIPTU served strike notice on the hotel on 9th February over the hotel’s decision which it regards as an effective lockout. The union says that although the dispute involves only five people it has implications for over 300,000 workers affected by the new National Minimum Wage legislation and related rates of pay in the hotels, contract cleaning, security and other low pay sectors.
A petition to support the workers is available online at:
1. Defend workers right to protect current minimum wage
2. Defeat employers offensive to drive down pay of vulnerable workers
3. Force Government to honour commitments in Dail Eireann to protect these workers
The Davenport Hotel is part of the O'Callaghan Hotel Group owned by Persian Properties and property developer, Noel O'Callaghan.
* Formed in 1990, by a merger between the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) and the Federated Workers Union of Ireland, the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) claims a proud tradition going back a century to when the ITGWU was founded by James Larkin.