A former All-Ireland footballer today went on hunger strike alongside a frozen food plant co-worker over management’s refusal to reinstate or compensate three sacked staff.
John Guinan, a Green Isle Foods engineer, joined the picket with shop steward Jim Wyse who began his protest last Wednesday.
Unions claim the firm has failed to accept Labour Court recommendations to settle the bitter row over the dismissed employees.
Guinan, a member of the Offaly team which won the All-Ireland in 1982 and prevented Kerry winning five All-Irelands in a row, has worked as a maintenance engineer at the plant for 13 years.
The pair and colleagues have been picketing the company’s Naas plant for the past six months over claims a number of staff were dismissed when a confidential file with restructuring proposals was mistakenly sent to an employee who shared the information with co-workers.
The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) said that like 58-year-old Wyse – who is now entering his second week on hunger strike – Guinan was not one of the men dismissed last July.
However it maintained the men were taking action in a bid to get the Kildare-based company to come up with an acceptable deal.
Green Isle Foods, which is a division of the British multinational Northern Foods, has agreed to enter talks with the union although no agreement has been made between the parties.
“The union welcomes the company’s agreement to engage in talks but Jim Wyse and his colleagues will continue with the hunger strike protest until an acceptable settlement can be reached,” said a union spokesman.
Meanwhile, a rally organised by the Kildare Council of Trade Unions in support of the strikers will go ahead as planned this Saturday.