Socialist Worker

New occupation against redundancies in Dublin: a voice from inside

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2162

Twenty workers have occupied a Thomas Cook travel agents shop in Dublin after they were told they were being sacked with immediate effect.

TSSA union organiser Patrick McCusker spoke to Socialist Worker from inside the occupation.

“We’ve been occupying the building since noon today. The big bosses came in with a letter in their pockets and told us they’d shut the two shops.

“The company’s making a profit. The chief executive gave himself a massive bonus this year.”

Thomas Cook’s head in Ireland, Manny Fontenla-Novoa, was awarded a seven million euro bonus (about £5 million) earlier this year. Thomas Cook made more than £400 million in profits in Ireland in 2008.

The workers, who are in the TSSA union, had already staged a protest last week when they were told their shop was to close on 6 September. They had decided to take strike action. Patrick says, “We balloted for a strike this week. For the first time in my life we had 100 percent in favour of industrial action.”

But today they were told the closure had been brought forward and they should leave the premises immediately.

Patrick continues, “The management said, you’re sacked and here’s your letter. We told them to go and get stuffed.

“We won’t be treated without respect or dignity. We locked ourselves in the top floor offices.

“Everyone’s been talking about the Isle of Wight, Visteon and Waterford occupations.

“We’ve got a window where we can get supplies in and out. And we can shout down to people below. We’re not going anywhere. We’ll occupy until they start talking sense.”

A total of 44 people have been sacked at two Dublin stores. The 20 are occupying the Grafton Street office (opposite Trinity College Dublin). Thomas Cook plans to close all its shops in Ireland.

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