Unite, the UK’s construction union, has launched an international campaign to end union busting at J Murphy and Sons Ltd and its subsidiaries.


The dispute is a result of J Murphy and Sons Ltd’s, Irish subsidiary Murphy International Ltd, last year wrongfully sacking four Unite members (including a Unite rep), in an act of union busting.

The workers who were undertaking work at a site in the Republic of Ireland were dismissed after organising a meeting of 15 workers to discuss Murphy’s non-payment of travel and subsistence payments.

After a period of two months where all the workers were suspended without pay, the four workers were singled out and dismissed for not showing “remorse”. Despite pressure from Unite the company has refused to reinstate the workers.

Deplorable behaviour

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said “Murphy’s behaviour is deplorable it is guilty of flagrant union-busting. No reputable employer should have anything to do with Murphy considering the manner in which it treats its workers.”

“Unite will never allow such attacks on members to go unchallenged and it will leave no stone unturned until Murphy does the right thing and reinstates the workers.”


Unite’s campaign will feature protests and demonstrations targeting Murphy and its key business partners, its customers and lenders. Initial protests this week have focussed on Mott MacDonald, which is supporting the joint venture between Bouygues and Murphy for the Lower Thames Crossing.

In the Republic of Ireland, Unite’s campaign is focusing on Murphy’s bid for a number of Irish Water contracts. Unite has sent legal letters to the Irish government highlighting how the company’s actions are in contravention of Irish labour laws and therefore Murphy should be barred from bidding for public sector contracts.

In the coming weeks unless the Murphy 4 are reinstated the campaign will widen further and will target the company on an international scale.


Notes to editors

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications advisor Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.