Musgrave Strike Continues


SIPTU issued a press release on 24/4/12 as follows: SIPTU members in the Musgrave Group are continuing their strike action at the company’s warehouse in Cork in a dispute concerning changes to their conditions of employment. The industrial action, which began on 18th April, involves approximately 135 salaried staff members withdrawing their labour at the Cork Chill warehouse.

SIPTU Organiser, Karan O’Loughlin, said; “The workers decided to take this action due to the management of the company attempting to introduce changes to their terms and conditions of employment which were not agreed.”

“SIPTU is calling on the management of the company to commit to constructive engagement with the workers’ representatives to bring an end to this dispute.”

The Musgrave Group is the country’s largest retailer supplying a number of supermarket chains including SuperValu and Centra. 

Workers Solidarity chatted with one of the SIPTU shop stewards on the picket line at Musgraves, who outlined the position on the shop floor:

“The workers who are on strike do a demanding, physical, outdoor job and deserve fair pay and conditions. We are exercising our right not to accept the non-binding

Labour Court decision and instead to use collective bargaining to defend conditions and pay,

something we are perfectly entitled to do. The bosses want a worse sick pay scheme, something that has already been implemented at other Musgrave plants. 

Musgraves are currently employing 30 strikebreakers, plus reluctant office staff. Siptu are effectively forcing their members who are on hourly rates to work during the strike saying that unless the striking (salaried) workers are suffering actual hardship it is unacceptable for hourly workers to come out on strike in solidarity with them. Also, Siptu did not push Musgraves to comply with the 2016 deal, which would have implemented a 6% pay-rise. Musgraves should have been forced to attempt to plead inability to pay. Musgraves are now attempting to use an offer of a 5% pay rise as a bargaining chip, but that’s something which workers are already owed.

Musgraves are also attempting to impose new voice-based ordering technology and procedures and refusing to consult the work force on how that should be implemented. People who are not able to adapt to the new methods will lose their jobs, regardless on how long they have been working at Musgraves. The average age of workers at Musgraves in Cork is about 40. The situation is made more complex because different groups of workers at Musgraves are working under for different contracts, with four different sets of wages and conditions. Please boycott Centra and Supervalu (who are being supplied by strike-breaking labour) and tell them why you are boycotting them.”

From Issue 127 of Ireland's anarchist paper Workers Solidarity  May / June 2012.