Green Isle workers threaten hunger strike


Workers at a frozen food plant will join a colleague on hunger strike if the company refuses to reinstate or compensate three sacked staff, union officials warned today.

Green Isle shop steward Jim Wyse began his protest on Wednesday over the firm’s failure to accept Labour Court recommendations to settle the bitter row over the dismissed employees.

The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) claimed more staff have volunteered to embark on hunger strike if the Kildare-based company does not come up with an acceptable deal.

Union spokesman Eamonn Devoy said Mr Wyse would be joined by a colleague this week, with another worker joining each week the dispute continued.

“I think it’s a great pity that anybody has to do it and I think it’s sad but it’s the only action we have left,” Mr Wyse said.

“I have to go on until we get something sorted.”

The 58-year-old and 12 colleagues have been picketing the company’s Naas plant for the past six months over claims a number of staff were dismissed when a confidential file with restructuring proposals was mistakenly sent to an employee who shared the information with co-workers.

But Green Isle maintains the three staff dismissals followed a company probe into breaches of its IT policy relating to pornography and copyright material.

“All of us who were on strike recognised from the beginning there was an injustice there,” Mr Wyse said. “We don’t have anything yet that we can put to people and say this is the basis of a resolution.”

A spokesman for the firm, the largest frozen food supplier in the country, said management was hopeful about finding an agreement on the issue.

“Talks have been going on in terms of a mediation process between union officials, the mediators and the company,” he added.

“The company hopes that a resolution can be found and it’s definitely committed to that mediation process to come up with a resolution.”