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LIMERICK TRADE DISPUTE: COURT RULES IN FAVOUR OF DISSIDENT UNION MEMBERS |

LIMERICK TRADE DISPUTE: COURT RULES IN FAVOUR OF DISSIDENT UNION MEMBERS

Limerick, Ireland – In a significant legal development at the Limerick Quarter Sessions, a trade dispute involving members of the Limerick Carmen and Storemen’s Society has drawn attention. The dispute centred around three individuals, John Ward, Michael Cusack, and Michael O’Loughlin, who accused the society’s leadership of conspiring against them, resulting in the loss of their employment.

The crux of the plaintiffs’ case was their voluntary decision to fall behind in subscription payments, thereby making themselves liable to expulsion. They claimed this action was a protest against what they perceived as the leadership’s violation of the society’s rules and their failure to adhere to proper working practices. Allegedly, the defendants consistently deviated from the society’s established guidelines.

Among the accusations was a letter written by Charles Moore, the society’s Secretary, to Cleeve Brothers. Moore listed eighteen individuals, including the plaintiffs, as non-unionists to be disemployed under the threat of union workmen withdrawing their services. The subsequent termination of employment for Ward, Cusack, and O’Loughlin followed these allegations.

During the proceedings, it was established that Moore had no authority to issue such a letter. However, the defence argued that Moore’s actions were retroactively approved at a subsequent society meeting. Despite the attempts to justify Moore’s conduct, County Court Judge Shaw-Smith ruled in favour of the dissident union members.

Judge Shaw-Smith decreed a financial compensation of £19 19s. against Charles Moore. Notably, the names of the other two defendants, John Connery and Jeremiah Ryan, were struck out. The judge’s decision signifies a legal recognition of the plaintiffs’ grievances and asserts that the Secretary, Moore, acted beyond his authority.

The implications of this ruling could resonate beyond the immediate dispute, setting a precedent for how union leaders handle internal dissent and the consequences of overstepping their powers. The dissatisfaction among union members, as demonstrated by the actions of Ward, Cusack, and O’Loughlin, underscores the challenges faced by labour organizations in maintaining unity and adherence to established rules.

An appeal against Judge Shaw-Smith’s decision is expected to be lodged, ensuring that the legal intricacies of this Limerick trade dispute will continue to unfold in the coming weeks. As the oldest legislator in the Empire, Limerick remains at the forefront of labour relations, demonstrating the city’s ongoing role in shaping the trajectory of employment practices and worker rights in Ireland.

Dublin Daily Express – Saturday 11 January 1913

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