Irish Ships and Shipping

Irish Ferries dispute 2005

Between 2004 to 2006 Irish Ferries, an Irish owned company decided to get rid of over 600 Irish and British crew from its 4 passenger and freight ships and replace them with cheap labour from eastern European countries.  they succeeded and below is just a small record of the reaction it created.



The action by Irish Ferries in asking its 643 seafaring staff to take voluntary redundancy is a serious blow to the future of Irish seafaring. The number involved represents almost half the existing level of Irish seafaring employment. It is an attempt by Irish Ferries to get rid of Irish staff in favour of outsourcing employment at cheaper costs to the company. This policy of outsourcing could destroy the future of Irish seafaring employment. 

The Maritime Development Office, which is part of the Marine Institute and so a State agency, has completed a study of the problems facing the shipping industry and concluded that Irish seafaring employment is under serious threat from this approach towards the outsourcing of employment to non-Irish seafarers which, it seems, is exactly what Irish Ferries wants to do. According to the IMDO study, at least 900 seafaring jobs could be lost during the next three to five years by outsourcing
The Exchequer would lose between €8 and €12 million and even more when indirect services are costed into the equation. Loss of those seafaring jobs would also be a strong disincentive to young people considering a career at sea so that, in the future maritime knowledge and expertise could be completely lost to Ireland. This, Marine Minister Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher, has warned, could even have potential effects on future of the National Maritime College established at Ringaskiddy. 
The Minister asked Irish Ferries to defer its action pending Government consideration of recommendations made by the IMDO in its report to assist the shipping industry. Irish Ferries has not responded to the Minister's request. With strike notice already given by SIPTU and considerable anger expressed by the International Transport Federation, which represents seafarers worldwide, there is likely to be industrial difficulty for some time ahead at Irish Ferries.

There is a SEASCAPES teletext service on AERTEL on RTE1 Television at page 388.


Passing the Picket © R.T.E. 2007

A series which revisits some of the most memorable and ground-breaking industrial disputes in recent years.  As well as archival footage from the strikes, the programme will feature interviews with employees who were on either side of the picket line and analysis on how these disputes shaped the modern trade union movement. In this program Fiona Kelly revisits one of the most memorable and ground-breaking industrial disputes in recent years,  the 2005 Irish Ferries dispute.

Passing The Picket - The Irish Ferries Dispute -- 28 February 2007.mp3  11MB


Hello All,
 Just to let you know the last Irish ferries ratings directly employed by the company left as from the 31st. August 2006.  Myself, Anto Murphy, Seamus Collins, and Tommy Kirwan were the last. I finished up on the 31st. The last Irish rating. There are still a small number of officers left, but they will be going soon. We put up a good fight but the time had come to bow out gracefully. Thanks to everyone who supported us along the way. It was a good job, the best, but now is only a part of Irish maritime history.
Tony Hayden --- 6th.September 2006 

press cuttings:

Protest March November 2005



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