Workers are facing unprecedented attacks on their pay and conditions. Despite the growth in the economy, and with housing costs rising, many workers are denied a living wage. Growing numbers of young workers have insecure jobs. Research by People Before Profit shows Irish workers lag far behind those in other EU and OECD countries when it comes to legal rights at work, working time, sick pay and maternity pay. Irish workers are also denied to the basic right to have their union recognised by their employer. No wonder rates of union membership are falling.
Despite this trade unions still organise large number of workers, with over 723,976 members in Ireland as whole, of whom 527,048 are in the South, and some unions have played a progressive role in opposing austerity and fighting water charges. They retain the potential to pose a real challenge to employers and the political establishment but rarely chose to do so.
PBP is committed to building grassroots activism in our unions so that they will fight for and defend workers’ rights and campaign on progressive social issues. We oppose the bureaucratic ways in which unions are run and believe unions should be democratically controlled by their members. We want to work with others on the left to develop a socialist understanding of what’s wrong in our unions and what needs to change. We also want to develop practical proposals for bringing about change.
We are issuing a general invitation to union activists, workers and all those interested in changing our unions to come to our workshop on October 5th.
Building Grassroots Activism in the Unions: PBP Workshop for Trade Unionists
Saturday October 5, 2-5pm
Outhouse, 105 Capel Street, Dublin 1.
2pm-3pm Workers Rights in Ireland: Launch of PBP Factsheet
Brid Smyth T.D. People Before Profit
Diarmuid Ó Senacháin-Dálaigh, Mandate member
Chair: Memet Uludag, UNITE
3pm-4pm Why don’t unions fight? Whats wrong with our unions?
Speaker: Eddie Conlon, TUI Grassroots
Chair: Owen Mc Cormack , Busworkers Action Group
4pm-5pm If we want democratic and fighting unions what should socialist do?
A panel of activists who have been organising at rank and file level will give short introductions.
Speakers will include: Mark Walshe, Fightback (an ASTI Activist Group);
Andrew Keegan, Building Workers: Know Your rights;
Jo Tully Irish Nurse and Midwives Union
Chair: Eddie Conlon. TUI Grassroots
All speaker in a personal capacity