Wednesday, March 30, 2005
A Filipino woman who won a 25,000 euro ($32,410) cash settlement from Irish Ferries is to set up her own beauty salon, it emerged tonight. Ms Salvacion Y Ortenero Orge, a beautician, was hired by a recruitment agency to work on the vessel Isle of Inishmore for one euro per hour, less than a seventh of the national minimum wage. The beauty parlour on the ship, which operates on the Ireland-Wales route, was closed down last week following queries about her wages. Tonight a settlement worth about 25,000 euro was worked out after hours of negotiations between Irish Ferries management, the SIPTU union and Ms Orge. SIPTU negotiator Paul Smith said Ms Orge, who had refused to leave the ship, would now be returning home to the Philippines tomorrow. “She’s over the moon. She’ll be a millionaire in Filipino terms and she is planning to set up her own beauty saloon there.” He said the settlement, which would have taken Ms Orge nearly 20 years to earn in the Philippines, would also allow her to educate her children. Ms Orge had said that under her contract she was expected to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, aboard the Isle of Inishmore and was offered just three days off a month – the equivalent to earning just over one euro an hour. As part of the settlement, SIPTU secured a letter of undertaking from the recruitment company that hired Ms Orge, guaranteeing that she would not be discriminated against when seeking any future employment. “We believe this woman could have been victimised and there would be little we could do to protect her. That’s why the settlement is very important,” said Mr Smith. However, the dispute about pay conditions at Irish Ferries is set to continue, following the serving of strike notice on the company last week. SIPTU members are claiming that Irish Ferries is outsourcing jobs on its ships to workers from the Far East and Eastern Europe, without disclosing their pay and conditions. “The company have been apologising for what happened to Ms Orge but they still intend to replace the current officers with agency crew and to use low-cost cheap labour,” said Mr Smith. A statement from Irish Ferries said an agreement had been reached between Ms Orge, SIPTU and Irish Ferries‘ director of human resources Alf McGrath after talks during the ship’s sailing to Wales today. “Irish Ferries confirms that an agreement has been reached between the company, SIPTU and Salvacion Y Ortenero Orge the details of which all parties have agreed to keep confidential,” the company said.
Isle of Inishmore