Aftermath of ferries dispute


Madam, - After several months of intransigence, it appears the highly divisive Irish Ferries dispute has reached some semblance of resolution.

The management of Irish Ferries appears to have, on the face of it anyway, activated a partial climb-down, finally conceding the minimum wage to outsourced staff while still remaining free to register abroad. However, this raises the question as to how any kind of effective verification of the wage situation could be implemented.

That aside, the bigger picture still remains critical. As a result of the accession states' pool of labour of almost 70 million being free to compete against the previous two million pool of labour available to this country's employers, a situation akin to the Mississippi engulfing the Liffey has arisen.

As a result, the temptation to cut corners and exploit the vulnerable is immense. Irish Ferries-type situations will rear their ugly heads continuously and the unions collectively face huge challenges ahead. Unless this open labour market is managed and regulated rigorously and effectively, a free-for-all, coupled with extremely fragile social cohesion, will be the face of the future for this country. - Yours, etc,

DAVID MARLBOROUGH, Kenilworth Park, Dublin 6W.