Article from the November 2005 issue of the Socialist
newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
Roches Stores staff replaced by cheap labour
By Anthony Hetherington
ROCHES STORES in Cork made its cleaning and dispatch staff redundant last month to replace them with outside agency workers as part of a national strategy to cut wage costs.
Roches Stores began to wield the axe in Dublin and started to cut through its other stores following hot on the heels of GAMA and Irish Ferries.
And what has been the reaction of SIPTU? - To get the best redundancy deal possible. They have backed away from trying to defend the jobs and conditions for both the previous existing staff and the agency staff.
Staff feared that those two areas would not be the last to be affected. If that's the case, the union's response is more shocking.
Roches Stores "generously" offered to ask the agency to hire the workers into their old jobs - at reduced pay, shorter contracts and fewer rights and entitlements!
The cleaning staff is largely made up of women, the despatch / distribution staff are mainly men, with families. The workers are angry with the company stealing their jobs and giving them to the lowest bidder and at the underhand way Roches have begun to gut the workforce. They are also unhappy with SIPTU's response, seeing much better than SIPTU do, just what the company's agenda is - cheap non-unionised labour.
One worker, who didn't wish to be identified, told the Socialist: "We want to keep our jobs. It's wrong what they're doing. How can they give our jobs to someone else? Our jobs are there - they want contract people to come in to work for less."