Article from the Sept 2004 edition, Socialist Voice
Brinks Allied - Workers lives on the line
AFTER BEING locked out by management for three weeks, security workers at Brinks Allied went on strike on 23 August.
Brinks Allied is a multinational security company, although its Irish operation is part owned by the Arnotts Group. Prior to the dispute Brinks management used the media to highlight statistics outlining the financial losses it had incurred due to an increase in armed robberies.
The company then imposed new security procedures that include the condition that in the event of an attempted robbery of a security van the driver must leave the scene immediately, even if that means leaving colleagues behind with the armed robbers! Security workers at Brinks have understandably refused to accept this demand from the company.
One worker spoke on RTE Radio about how it was totally unacceptable to expect them to drive away and leave their friends at the mercy of armed gangsters, "how could I look his wife and his children in the face again if I did something like that".
Brinks workers voted 5-1 in favour of a Labour Court recommendation which proposed a one-month trial period for using new vehicles, that Û750 compensation would be paid to the workers because of the lock-out and that the question of the new security procedures would be subject to further negotiation over the next month. Brinks rejected this proposal.
Four days into the strike the company made a proposal to the workers that amended the Labour Court proposal and this was rejected by the workers 36 to 24. A Brinks worker told the Socialist Voice that he had rejected the company's new proposal because it still contained the drive away policy.
During the first three weeks of the dispute Brinks were able to maintain a majority of the Dublin regions ATM machines because supervisors had carried on working. However Brinks supervisors have refused to cross the SIPTU picket line and a majority of ATM's may be out of operation within a week.
The Brinks strikers have received a message of support from the Union Network International that organises 15 million union members in the security industry worldwide.
If Brinks get away with its new security procedures it will not only put the lives of Brinks workers at risk but will also have implications for workers in the whole security industry. Brinks management have clearly stated that the security of their cash in transit is more important and valuable that the lives of its employees.
SIPTU and the other unions who organise security workers should get a commitment from their members to black all work currently carried out by Brinks Allied, and trade unionists must ensure that funds are made available to the Brinks strikers to maintain their families in this important dispute.