Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The last few days have been very busy. Since Friday 31st July, Sinn Féin activists in Dublin have been engaged in a series of protests and demonstrations supporting the brave workers of Thomas Cook.

Thomas Cook are a multi-national company. They decided to pull out of Ireland recently, leaving 70 workers unemployed. The redundancy package the company were offering the workers was dismal, it was mean. The Thomas Cook CEO Manny Fontenla-Novoa last year paid himself a handsome bonus of a mere £7,000,000. The Thomas Cook workers were seeking a lot less.

On Monday 3rd August approx 30 Sinn Féin activists descended on the Thomas Cook shop on Grafton Street, and in usual form were colourful and loud.
Councillor Dessie Ellis and TD Aengus O'Snodaigh were also present to show solidarity with the workers.

An amount of us stayed on into the night with the workers. We were inside the shop with other members of the PBP Alliance and gave assistance wherever we could, Councillor Larry O'Toole and activist Niall Connolly also paid a late night visit to offer their support, both Larry and Niall are no strangers to radical action. The mood of the staff was positive and the workers were upbeat. We spoke with the TSSA co-ordinators, Pat and Jim and then we left to dish out leaflets organising the protest for the morning ahead.

Unfortunately before the morning broke, and as we predicted, the forces of this capitalist state moved in. Approx 150 Gardai forcibly removed the protesters from outside the shop, cordoned off the street and smashed their way into the building. They arrested everyone present. Pregnant women weren't spared.

When morning did eventually break, Sinn Féin activists arrived to the Bridewell Garda station and maintained a high presence throughout the day, both inside and outside the high court. Councillor Criona Ni Dhaliagh was also in attendance, as was Sinn Féin TD Aengus O'Snodaigh.

Eventually, and after five days of protest, the workers were released under orders that they do not return to the Thomas Cook shop building.
They walked out to a tumultuous cheer from supporters from various left wing parties and groups, along with Sinn Féin stood UNITE, SIPTU,IWU SP, SWP, and friends and family of the workers.

Well done to all those activists who put in the time to campaign on behalf of those workers, who made a very principled stand against very unprincipled employers.

The left is truly awake.

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