Ireland: Turkish Gama workers strike for unpaid wages

Hundreds walk-off building sites in Dublin and Galway in show of strength

In a courageous and impressive show of strength, four hundred GAMA Turkish workers staged a walkout from building sites across Dublin, yesterday. More protests are planned today, Tuesday 5 April, in Tynagh, County Galway (west Ireland).

On Monday 4 April, Turkish workers walked off their building sites across Dublin in protest at non-payment of wages which are held by the company Finansbank, in the Netherlands.

GAMA construction has hidden away possibly up 30 million euro in unpaid wages belonging to these workers. This money is just a portion of the unpaid wages owed. Most of these workers are in receipt of payment rates of 2.30 euro per hour and working up to 80 or 90 hours a week.

Foreign workers are amongst the most exploited and vulnerable, which makes the GAMA workers’ decision to take strike action all the more brave and important. Their action is a brilliant and courageous example to other super-exploited workers in Ireland and across Europe.

The workers marched through Dublin to a mass rally in Liberty Hall where they were addressed by members of the Turkish Workers’ Action Group, Erie Fleming of SIPTU (the workers’ union) and by Socialist Party TD (member of the Irish Parliament) Joe Higgins.

These workers exist in slave-like conditions. They are completely reliant on their employers for food and accommodation. They have received no wages in weeks and are quite destitute at this stage. Twelve workers " were locked out of their building site in Tynagh, County Galway, last Sunday night, and alternative places to stay have had to found in Dublin. This is an illustration of the appalling situation facing the workers and the vicious reign of fear and the intimidation by GAMA management on these sites.

The workers demand:

  • Immediate and full information to each worker about all money paid into the accounts in Finansbank, Holland
  • Representative of Finansbank, Holland, to come to Ireland to give full information to all workers about their accounts
  • Finansbank, Holland, to explain all the options open to workers about their funds in the accounts
  • Finansbank to implement immediately any instruction by workers to move workers’ funds if they wish to any bank of their choice
  • A statement to each worker giving the real hours workers has worked, each month, since starting with GAMA
  • A statement giving all the wages paid each month with details of what went into each bank account
  • A statement giving the total wages owed to workers based on the agreed trade unions rates. Immediate payment of all wages owed to the workers
  • No victimisation of any workers. No worker to be spoken to by management without a shop steward present
  • No workers to be sent back to Turkey, or to any other country, unless they want to go
  • Immediate implementation of trade union rates of pay and the 48 hour week
  • Payslips to each worker with full information
  • Show solidarity with GAMA workers. Send protests to:

    Managing Director Hakan Karaalioglu

    Gama Construction Ireland Ltd

    Northwood Park

    Santry

    Dublin D9

    Republic of Ireland

    Fax: 00 35 31 1862 9698

    Please send copies to:

    Michael Martin

    Minister for Enterprise

    Trade and Employment

    Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment

    23 Kildare Street

    Dublin 2

    Republic of Ireland

    Fax: 00 353 1 631 2815

    e mail: micheal_martin@entemp.ie

    Please email solidarity messages to the GAMA workers (via Joe Higgins TD) to the following address:

    joe.higgins@oireachtas.irlgov.ie

    Protest pickets of Turkish embassies/consulates will take place this coming Friday, 8 April, marking an international day of solidarity and protest with GAMA workers in Ireland.

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