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Thread: Tony Ayton RIP

  1. #1
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    Tony Ayton RIP

    Tony Ayton, died aged 59, a tireless worker for badly treated seafarers. During his work as a representative of the International Transport Workers Federation, he highlighted the horrendous conditions under which so many sailors were serving as crews of Flag of Convenience vessels, often succeeding on gaining back pay, time ashore and repatriation for distressed mariners.
    RIP

    GttC

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    Colonel johnny no stars's Avatar
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    .303 MMG Vickers's Avatar
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    R. I. P.

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    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Rip

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    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    A very sad loss, not just for his family, but for Seafarers everywhere.

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    Tony and I were both shop stewards back about 25 years ago. some of his family still live here, We did not always see eye to eye on politics then, but that aside, Tony went on to better and greater things, And was always on the side of fair play.

    May he rest in peace.
    Last edited by beenthere; 4th January 2009 at 19:47.

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    Armchair Admiral ocean's Avatar
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    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    Rest In Peace.

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    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    From the Irish Times.

    A tireless union activist
    Tony Ayton: TONY AYTON, who has died aged 59, was the first dedicated International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) inspector for Ireland. He retrieved over $1 million in arrears of pay for seafarers during his six-year term and established the ITF as a credible and effective organisation.

    His dispute on board the Alda K in 2003, a six-month battle to have the Syrian crew of this Tonga-registered freighter paid and repatriated, brought the appalling conditions on many Flag of Convenience (FoC) vessels to the attention of the Irish public for the first time.

    His last dispute before illness forced him to retire was Irish Ferries in 2005-6. The company refused to allow him or the ITF co-ordinator for Britain and Ireland, Norrie McVicar, to board its vessels in a dispute over pay and conditions for new agency crews. Irish Ferries ships were immobilised by trade union Siptu and Seaman's Union of Ireland crews for three weeks until decent pay and conditions were secured.

    Tony Ayton was born in 1949, at Ballindrait, Stranorlar, Co Donegal. He attended Raphoe National School and was a trade union activist from the time he started work for the Office of Public Works in the mid-1960s. It was while working for the OPW in Dunmore East that he met his wife Eileen (nee Cullinane). They were married there in 1970.

    They moved to Mullingar, where Ayton was elected shop steward on the Boyne drainage scheme by workers in the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. He took a leading role in the tax reform campaign, and also helped found Mullingar Trades Council. He sometimes took an innovative approach to resolving disputes. One redundancy deal with Coillte secured a tree for each member, as well as a cash settlement.

    He played a central role in the Nolan Transport strike in New Ross. By then the ITGWU had amalgamated with the Federated Workers Union of Ireland to form Siptu. This bitter 22-month dispute was essentially over union recognition. Ayton spent three days in the witness box in the High Court and was deeply depressed when the union lost the action. However, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court decision in 1998 and its findings influenced the formulation of the 2001 Industrial Relations Act.

    News of Tony Ayton's concern for seafarers in Waterford soon spread, and many made their way to the Siptu offices looking for "Mr Tony". In 2000, shortly after he was appointed a branch organiser for the south-east region, Siptu seconded him to the ITF as inspector for the whole island of Ireland. He frequently drafted parliamentary questions for TDs of all parties on maritime issues, but especially Labour deputies, as he was a lifelong member of the party. Even after cancer forced him to stand down as an ITF inspector in early 2007, he continued fighting for better conditions. His last letter, criticising the Government over tax concessions to FoC vessels, was published in The Irish Times on December 22nd, 2008, just eight days before his death.

    He is survived by his wife Eileen and daughter Brenda.

    Tony Ayton: born July 1st, 1949; died December 30th, 2008
    Last edited by Goldie fish; 5th January 2009 at 01:59.


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