Militant Behind the Walkouts; Owen McCormack: A Long History of Trade Union Activism

Daily Mail (London), November 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

Militant Behind the Walkouts; Owen McCormack: A Long History of Trade Union Activism


Byline: Scott Millar

ALEADER ofthestriking Harristown Dublin Bus work-ersisalong-timeunion militant and member of the SocialistWorkers Party, it emerged yesterday.

Owen McCormack, a key organiser of yesterdays bus drivers protest march, isboth an SWP party member and was alsoakeyfigureintheBus WorkersActionGroup,an association of militant trade union members and shop stewardswhichemergedduring industrial disputes within Dublin Bus during the late Nineties.

His involvement as a figure-head in the dispute is likely to raise fears thatthe strike has been engineered for political reasonsratherthanissues aboutnew routes a fear which Mr McCormack yesterday appeared to confirm.

Ithinkthereisapoliticaldimensiontoit,hesaid.I thinkthereisadeliberate political attempt to smash any attempt by workers to stand up anddefendthemselves.Mr McCormack yesterday acted as aspokesmanfor the NBRU, which represents the majority of bus drivers in Dublin.

The NBRU emerged as a more militant breakaway from the IrishTransportandGeneral Workers Union during the strike-ridden Sixties. The union itself iscurrently a hotbed of strifewithinternaldivision resulting in some of its representatives failing to turn up to takepart in the Labour Court discussions to end the dispute.

However both Siptu and NBRU unionleadersarecurrently supporting the Harristown actionbutresistingcallsto spread the dispute. The strike has broken out over drivers refusal tocommute straight to work in OConnell Street or get to work there within 45minutes of clocking on at the Harristown depot. All other Dublin Bus garagescurrently accept the company-wide agreement that shifts can either start in thecity centre

or at their depot.

MrMcCormackwas challenged about his membership of the SWP on RT s Morning Ireland show.

However he was upfront about his long-standing political involvement and inresponse accused RT of using anti-union tactics that were reminiscent of theGreat LockOutof1913. …

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