Many thanks to the Vita Cortex workers, who called for support for us and the Kingscourt Brick Workers during their appearance on The Late Late Show last night. We will always be in their debt, for their support and solidarity and for showing us how to fight with courage and dignity. Thank you.
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A week on from our protest outside EBSCO’s Information Day in Dublin, we feel it was a great success. We boosted our profile, earned media coverage, enlisted the support of numerous politicians, and received huge encouragement from the online community.
We will continue our efforts to publicize our case in Ireland, particularly in relation to the wider issue of companies ignoring the Labour Court’s recommendations, but now it is time for the next stage in our campaign: the United States.
We have already written to college and university libraries around the United States and we are enormously heartened by the wonderful response from individual librarians, many of whom have signed our petition. We will be broadening that outreach to include public libraries and business libraries.
Our next step will be to contact U.S. unions to build on the incredible union support we have received in Ireland. We will also be contacting media outlets, Irish-American groups, politicians, and online communities.
The victory of the Vita Cortex workers has given us fresh hope, and the encouragement of our supporters has renewed our fighting spirit.
We will prevail.
A letter from Gerry Adams TD, president of Sinn Fein:
Thank you for your recent mail and invite to the protest on 15th May outside the EBSCO information day.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend due to commitments in the Dáil. I am aware however that my colleague Senator David Cullinane was in attendance on behalf of Sinn Fein and supporting the workers.
I recognise that the workers at HW Wilson, who were made redundant following that company being taken over by publishing giant EBSCO, have been treated shamefully by their former Employer.
Next year, 2013 sees the 100th Anniversary of the Lockout, the most significant and well-remembered moment in Irish labour history. Yet, 2012 has been marked by an unprecedented amount of disputes involving workers being denied their redundancies, including those at HW Wilson, Vita Cortex, Lagan Brick and many, many more.
I believe that the government needs to take action as a matter of urgency to tackle the increasing trend of employers refusing redundancy payment. The government should introduce legislation to ensure that workers in this situation are not left high and dry by bad employers.
Please be assured that that Sinn Féin will continue to work for the protection of workers’ rights and to challenge this Government who have failed to protect workers and pursued austerity policies that are contributing to the mistreatment of workers by some employers.
Hope this mail finds you well.
Is mise le meas,
Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin President
Support the Vita Cortex Workers have declared this to be “Support the Kingscourt Brick Workers and the Wilson Pickets Day.“ They have asked their Facebook supporters to like our Facebook pages and back us in our campaigns.
Once again, we are humbled and even awed by the generosity and solidarity shown by the Vita Cortex workers. Throughout their long struggle, they have been an example to workers everywhere, not only with their staunch determination but also with their unshakeable dignity.
Some of their supporters, meanwhile, have already taken us under their wing, sending us repeated messages of support and encouragement that have cheered us immeasurably. It has been a revelation to discover how many people are out there ready to lend support.
To the Kingscourt Brick Workers, heading for six months of protest, we say: Stay Strong. Our friends at Vita Cortex have shown what can be achieved. We ask all our own supporters to please like their Facebook page and show your support.
To the Vita Cortex Workers, we say: Thank you, for all you have done for us and for workers everywhere fighting for their rights.
I’m sure they’d really like it if we just shut up. When Ebsco bought Wilson’s last year, I think the last thing they expected to acquire (along with a NY head office building embellished with, we kid you not, a lighthouse on the roof!) was a bunch of vocal campaigners. To them, I guess, the Wilson Pickets have become just one big pain in the tooshie.
But we are not going to stop campaigning. There are many reasons for us to keep going. The main one being, of course, that we are right: our cause is just. And their actions, we firmly believe, are not. And we’re not the only ones who think so, judging by the support we are getting. Thank you all!
There is also the fact that we can’t afford not to continue. The money that the Labour Court recommended Ebsco pay us might not be a staggering amount if you’re, say, Michael Fingleton or Britney Spears, but to us it represents not only a fair and reasonable reward for many years of service – almost 240 years between us – but also a badly needed lifeline after almost a year of unemployment for most of us and everything that brings with it. They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure comes in handy when you have legal bills to pay.
And as everyone knows, finding a job is a full-time job in itself, so all the extraordinary efforts that the Wilson Pickets members are making to further this campaign and highlight these issues for everyone are being done in between feeding and dropping kids to school, walking the dog, getting dinner on the table, trawling job sites for opportunities, doing interviews and internships, studying to improve ourselves and acquire new skills, checking in at the social welfare office and checking out at the supermarket.
And yet we are all determined to find and make the most of any time we can get. To campaign, to communicate, to share, to publicise, to empathise, to get the facts out there and get the story straight. We can’t afford NOT to pursue this campaign, not just for us but for workers everywhere who find themselves in this situation. Most of all, we want Ebsco to listen. And to pay up. And for other companies to treat their workers with the respect they deserve.
EBSCO Publishing has been named the silver winner in Most Innovative Company of the Year in Best in Biz Awards 2012 EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa).
EBSCO took over H. W. Wilson, made its workers redundant, and continues to market products under the H. W. Wilson brand, profiting from the hard work over many years of those workers.
It refuses to engage with these workers and ignores the Irish Labour Court’s recommendation regarding the redundancy payments they deserve.
According to the Best in Biz Awards 2012 EMEA, the word for such business practices is . . . innovative.
Yesterday the Wilson Pickets held a protest outside EBSCO Publishing’s Information Day at Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin, and outside the Dáil.
Senator David Cullinane (SF) and Gerald Nash TD (Lab) came out to Clontarf Castle Hotel to wish us well and lend their support.
At the Dáil, we met with the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Andrew Montague; with Senator Ivana Bacik (Lab) and Senator Aideen Hayden (Lab); and with TDs Joe Higgins (Soc), Mick Wallace (Ind.), and Alex White, Colm Keaveney, Kevin Humphreys, and Gerald Nash of the Labour Party.
FM 104 interviewed us for a news item, and coverage also appeared on Broadsheet.ie.
We were so encouraged by the support we received throughout the day, from passersby, politicians, and people visiting our Facebook page to cheer us on. It was tremendously cheering to realize how many people wish us well in our struggle.
Thank you all. We will not give up the fight.
The Wilson Pickets are taking it to the streets…
We will be protesting today outside EBSCO Publishing’s Information Day at Clontarf Castle Hotel from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and outside the Dáil at 2 p.m.
Hope to see you there!