fully endorse the points made by Peter Hadden in his
reply to Sean Smyth. His account of what happened
during our dispute is accurate.
were shocked when Sean Smyths article was brought
to our attention. It is a vicious attack on low paid
workers who were sacked because they went on strike
for a wage increase.
attacks us for threatening to take legal action against
our union. We all feel that our union has let us down
from the very beginning of this dispute. Our full
time officer, Joe McCusker, repudiated our action
only hours after he had told us it was official. The
promises of full support that we got, first from Sir
Bill Morris and then from Tony Woodley, have been
have lost our jobs, have suffered financial hardship
and in many cases our health has been affected. Yet
we have not set out to take the union to court. We
wanted an internal union enquiry to establish the
facts of what happened and to make sure that other
T&GWU members would not be treated in the same
legal action we have taken is against ICTS and the
Airport. However we cannot prevent ICTS defending
themselves from our unfair dismissal claim by arguing
that the action was unofficial and presenting Joe
McCuskers repudiation of the strike as evidence.
It would then be up to the T&GWU to defend themselves
from this charge to prevent the court finding them
at least in part responsible.
idea of taking legal action against the T&GWU
did not come from us. Nor did it come from Peter Hadden
or the Socialist Party. The first person to suggest
that we should take the union to court was Sean Smyth.
He and a current officer of the union even suggested
a solicitor and helped arrange an appointment.
current leadership of the union tried to pressurise
us into accepting the offer that was brought to us
last summer. Tony Woodley rang Gordon McNeill and
argued that it was a good deal and should be accepted.
Sean Smyth also rang Gordon and said it was a very
reasonable offer, the best that we would get, and
that we should be realistic and take it.
this pressure we turned it down, and did so unanimously,
because it was a rotten deal.
was after this that people like Sean Smyth, who had
backed us in the early stages, began to attack us.
His article is typical of the arguments that were
used against us. He made very serious allegations
that were totally untrue against the three shop stewards
to members of the Socialist Party last autumn.
these points were related to the shop stewards they
arranged a meeting between three members of the Socialist
Party and the sacked workers, without the shop stewards
present, to clear these matters up.
this was successfully done an offer was then made
to Sean Smyth that a similar meeting would take place
for him to attend, along with anyone else he wanted
to bring. Sean never took up this offer.
we were a little naïve at the beginning
of this battle in that we did not expect our union
to behave in the way it did. Nor did we expect that
people like Sean Smyth who started out backing us
would end up slandering us in the way he has. We have
learned a lot, not least who our real friends are!
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