Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 August 2009

Thomas Cook occupation, Dublin: "A living lesson for workers everywhere"

A FIVE-DAY occupation by workers at the Thomas Cook shop in Grafton Street, Dublin, over redundancies, was brutally ended by Garda (police) in a dawn raid.
Below is an eyewitness account by Socialist Party (Ireland) councillor Matt Waine of last week's events. Matt was arrested along with 28 workers in the early hours of Tuesday morning 4 August and locked up at Bridewell Garda station.
Thomas Cook occupation in Dublin, Ireland - A courageous struggle, photo by Socialist Party Ireland

Thomas Cook occupation in Dublin, Ireland - A courageous struggle, photo by Socialist Party Ireland

"At 6.30pm on Monday 3 August, as the rain bucketed down, I peered through the window of the Thomas Cook store on Grafton Street as the workers and their union officials discussed the latest demand from the High Court to vacate the premises they had been occupying since Friday 31 July. All of a sudden, there was a tremendous cheer - they had voted, unanimously, to ignore the High Court order and to continue with their occupation.

From that moment on, this dispute became more than an issue of redundancy for a small group of workers. It turned into a David versus Goliath struggle of young, mainly female working-class people against a giant multinational corporation that crystallised the anger of hundreds of thousands of workers across the country at the inequitable way the economic crisis was impacting on people's lives.

What is more, these workers took this brave decision in the full knowledge of what the consequences could be (fines or a prison term) and against the advice of their solicitor and their union (TSSA) general secretary. They showed more determination during the five-day occupation than the trade union leaders have shown in the last 22 years of 'social partnership'.

No option

These workers were left with no option but to stand and fight for their livelihoods. When they rejected the offer of five weeks redundancy pay per year of service and instead argued for eight weeks, the company contemptuously announced that the offer was now reduced to two weeks and brought forward the planned closure of the store by one month!

This company are projected to make over 400 million this year. The CEO of the company, Manny Fontenla-Novoa, recently received a 34% pay rise and a 7 million bonus. This was his reward for boosting profits by making over 2,000 low paid Thomas Cook workers in Britain redundant.

The occupation came to an end in a 5am raid by over 100 Garda swooping first on 20 supporters who were camped outside the store and then using a battering ram to enter the shop and arrest everyone inside including myself.

These heavy-handed tactics were an attempt by the state to make an example of the Thomas Cook workers - a warning to others not to try the same thing.

But not everyone receives this treatment at the hands of the state. While 28 Thomas Cook workers and their supporters sat in jail cells in the Bridewell, property magnate Liam Carroll, whose greed and speculation contributed in no small way to the economic crisis, was afforded the protection of the courts against attempts to seize part of his wealth.

The occupation was a lesson in working class discipline and organisation and will remain a living lesson for workers everywhere."

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 11 August 2009:

Jobs & services - not bankers' bonuses!


Stop the BNP


Vestas - occupation ends but the fight continues

International socialist news

Thomas Cook occupation, Dublin: "A living lesson for workers everywhere"

Workplace news

Postal workers: National ballot to follow strike wave

Unison witchhunt

Protests flood in against Unison witch-hunt

Marxist analysis: history

August 1969: Northern Ireland explodes - 'the troubles' begin

Socialist Party youth and students

New term approaching for students: Build the fightback!

Demonstrate Saturday 28 November in London

Higher education: Don't make young people pay for funding crisis

Internships = Exploitation

Grim prospects for young people


BNP loses council by-election

Racists left speechless

Anti-fascist demo in Birmingham

International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: A cold winter, but mass action shakes Zuma

Afghanistan: 40 years of failure?

Torturous explanation

Workplace news and analysis

Industrial action works

Defend Corus workers' terms and conditions

Liverpool street cleaners and bin workers strike against fat-cats

Surrey council must buy back these homes now!

Engineering construction ballot

Rail strikes

South Yorkshire bus drivers plan more strikes

Labour history comment

Bryan Stanley's canonisation


Home   |   The Socialist 11 August 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleHarland and Wolff occupation

triangleHarland and Wolff occupation continues - renationalise to save the shipyard

triangleHarland and Wolff shipyard workers enter occupation

triangleAhed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression

triangleIsrael - Protest rally against the Nationality Law

Thomas Cook:

triangleTravel chaos for Ryanair customers as airline cancels thousands of flights

triangleThomas Cook cabin crew to strike over breaks


triangleNorthern Ireland: Campaign mounts over historic sexual abuse allegations cover-up

triangleKnife and gun crime a product of poverty and austerity

triangleInterview: protests over killing in Israel

Socialist Party:

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: Tories out now!

triangleLondon: packed public meeting discusses political crisis


triangleStrike action saves jobs at Cammell Laird shipyard


triangleWest London Socialist Party: Northern Ireland - 50 years since British army entered


triangleTrade union movement must put its stamp on swirling events

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Socialist Party

Donate to help us move our press by October



Ilford: strike forces school management to back down



PCS members at BEIS maintain just fightback


The Socialist

Selling the Socialist



London: packed public meeting discusses political crisis



Worcestershire campaigners plan march to save Bewdley Fire Station



Strike back to stop bullying Royal Mail bosses


South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire defeats fire cuts



Nottingham College UCU - more strike action planned



DVSA strike - employer asks for talks



PCS general secretary candidate: unions must mobilise to drive out Boris


Climate change

Climate protests: which way forward after 20 September?



Lincolnshire health visitors strike boost


Trade union

South Yorkshire FBU celebrates halt to cuts



Earth strike day in London

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019