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Irish Ferries management a disgrace - Morgan

21 September, 2005


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Arthur Morgan T.D. has describe as a disgrace comments by Irish ferries boss Eamonn Rotwell that workers will be sacked and the company will abandon its Irish Sea ferry services if plans to make 543 workers redundant within two weeks are opposed.

Deputy Morgan said, "The Irish Government must not stand idly by and allow Irish Ferries to go further down the road of worker exploitation. The failure of the government or indeed the European Union to intervene when Irish Ferries registered the Normandy in the Bahamas and replaced its Irish crew on that ship with low paid eastern European workers set the precedent which has allowed the current situation to develop.

"The statement by Irish ferries boss Eamonn Rotwell that workers will be sacked and the company will abandon its Irish Sea ferry services if plans to make 543 workers redundant within two weeks are opposed is a disgrace.

"This state should be ashamed that any worker on board a ferry operating out of Irish ports is subject to the disgraceful and exploitative wages and conditions which Irish Ferries currently pays its staff on board the Normandy and which it is planning to extend to workers on board its Irish Sea routes.

"This is a stark lesson for the state of the consequences of privatisation. It is hard to believe that what was until 1984 a state company serving the strategic interests of this island is now a private company epitomising corporate greed by exploiting migrant labour and threatening to shut down the Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Pembroke routes if workers don't accept the redundancy proposals.

"The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mícheál Martin needs to make clear what actions he intends to take to prevent workers on board ferries operating out of this state being subject to exploitative pay and conditions. Has he raised this issue at an EU level? Has he discussed this matter with the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Vladimír Spidla? What is Mícheál Martin doing to protect ferry workers?" ENDS

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