Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The brazen attempt by Corporate Vulture Micheal O’Leery (permanent grin affixed to face), crude and vulgar boss of cut-price human freight-carrier “Ryanair” to take over Aer Lingus, the former state airline of the Irish Republic, within days of it being privatised last November, crashlanded early on when O’Leery was forced to admit to his shareholders’ meeting that they were unlikely to obtain the 50% shareholding he required to gain control. But, the malign influence of O’Leery and his ilk has quickly penetrated the privatised management of the airline as their current attempt to tear up existing agreements with the Trade Unions proves.

The imminent strike action at the airline in response to this piratical and aggressive attack on the norms of industrial relations in this country has only been avoided, for the moment, by the intervention of the Labour Court. But, this intervention will be farcical and useless if the Aer Lingus management are allowed to get away with unilateral tearing up of any agreements subsequently reached at the Court. It must be made quite clear to the Aer Lingus management and the wretched and spineless Ahern Government that such cavelier and dictatorial notions will be resisted by the totality of the Trade Union Movement and will bring about a peremptory and swift end to the so-called “partnership” arrangements which the Government and Employers have enjoyed hitherto while they bask in the glory of their so-called “Celtic Tiger” which wouldn’t exist without the co-operation of the Trade Unions in these endeavours.
Cut-price human freight-carriers like “Ryanair” are a notorious excrescence of the Thatcher-Reagan buccaneer capitalism of the 1980’s and are based on internal structures of maximum exploitation of the workforce with minimum conditions of employment; short-term contracts, no job tenure, ban on trade unions (if they can get away with it) enforced long hours of duty with minimum rest periods.

For passengers, who are not human beings when they step on board O’Leery’s minimum maintenance fleet, but, mere “freight”, the low prices, only available if you book your flight weeks or months in advance, is the only advantage offered. “Ryanair” only flies to secondary airports sometimes more than 50 miles from the major city it is supposed to be serving, because O’Leery can force these airport managements to accept his terms of trade in order to get the traffic which otherwise wouldn’t go there. Cramped seats with less legroom than others, no meals service, charges for hold-luggage. All very well if you are young fit and carefree but, useless if you are older, ill or handicapped. A technical discrimination, if not strictly illegal.

Low-prices are a temptation especially for those on low incomes, but, if they chose to support these carriers they should realize that they do so at the expense of others in the transport industry, perhaps members of their own families whose jobs are put under threat by these pirates and they are only perpetuating the system of low-wage exploitation which allows O’Leery and his fellow buccaneers to become billionaires. In effect, they are cutting their own throats.

No surrender to Corporate Diktat! Boycott slave-labour airlines!

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/Dublin, 27 Feabhra/February 2007.

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