PRESS RELEASE: 7 March 2011
The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland welcomes the unequivocal decision made by the Labour Court today which recommended that the operators of O’Callaghan Davenport Hotel reinstate the five women on strike at the hotel on their old minimum wage rate of €8.65, and to pay the women back wages that they would have earned had they not been removed from the roster by the hotel. The workers, five migrant women, who have been working in housekeeping at the Davenport Hotel between three and six years, began their picket on 17 February for refusing to sign new contracts, reducing their minimum wage by almost €1 per hour.
Statement by Siobhan O'Donoghue, Director, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland:
“We commend the bravery and heroism of Raisa Jonaitiene, Regina Balciuniene, Ingrida Balciuniene, Grazyna Ziemer and Jolita Vallisiene. Already struggling on the minimum wage to make ends meet, these women took enormous risks to their own and their family’s livelihood to stand up for what was right. If that’s not heroic, I don’t know what is.”
"We hope that the action of these brave women will inspire other workers, Irish and migrant alike, to make similar stands to protect their wages and to discourage employers from taking advantage of them in this way."
“This is also a tremendous victory for SIPTU and the trade union movement who are organising and standing with the lowest-paid workers. This victory will help more workers recognise the importance of joining a trade union and participating collectively to have a strong voice in the workplace.”
"We also recommend that the public support the Fair Hotels Campaign, which encourages hotels to sign up and commit to providing decent and fair conditions for their workers, including recognising the right of their workers to trade union representation. The MRCI only supports and uses these hotels and encourages the public to only be patrons to these hotels to ensure that workers receive fair treatment."