Cork tourism workers claim jobs lost due to toilet facilities stance

Employer denies that issues raised by the workers were behind the terminations
Cork tourism workers claim jobs lost due to toilet facilities stance

Karen Doyle (centre left) and Linda Lyons (front right), with supporters, near the Spike Island Tours kiosk. Picture: Denis Minihane

Staff members at a popular tourist attraction in Cork believe they have lost their jobs because of a stance they took in having toilet facilities installed in their workplace.  

Their employer, Spike Island Tours, confirmed their seasonal contracts have concluded but have denied that issues raised by the workers were behind the terminations.

Karen Doyle and Linda Lyons worked at the company’s kiosk on Cobh Pier but were forced to visit local hotels and shops to use toilet facilities until the company agreed in July to finally install a portaloo on the pier.

The development occurred after the two women sought representation from the trade union Unite. 

Prior to that, they had been presented with a contract agreeing that they would use facilities in nearby shops or a library. 

After refusing to sign, they approached the union and a portaloo was installed within 48 hours.

Earlier this week, both women were informed that their services were no longer required. Every other year, they continued working into December.

Other staff are receiving training for the autumn season. The two women were the main staff members on the kiosk.

“Both me and Linda feel we have been victimised,” said Ms Doyle. 

Every other year, they were assured they would be re-employed at the opening of the next season. No such assurance was given this past week.

“Decisions in relation to employment status are categorically in no way connected to, or impacted by, union membership, issues raised by the union, and/or any other media coverage," said the CEO of Spike Island Tours, John Crotty.

"All staff are seasonal staff employed on fixed-term contracts. The employment contracts of several staff expired this week, as happens each year at this time when sailings are reduced significantly. A small number of existing staff are retained who undertake a variety of duties.”

He confirmed that training for this small cohort is being conducted but said no new staff is being recruited at this time.  

More in this section