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Indifference and Incompetence behind Irish Pension Crisis

Posted on June 24, 2015

Fergus Whelan - Industrial Officer, Congress
Fergus Whelan
Industrial Officer, Congress

Several hundred thousand people at work in Ireland today will be far worse off in retirement than they had either planned or expected to be. Many will slide in to poverty, others will barely make ends meet.

But this will not happen because they failed to make adequate provision for their retirement.

Instead a perfect storm of official indifference and incompetence in financial institutions have served to ensure that many will now experience unnecessary hardship in their old age.(A comprehensive presentation on this issue can be downloaded here)

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Permanent link | Comments (0) | Categories: PensionsDefined ContributionDefined BenefitPensions' Authority

Battle for Decent Work at heart of Dunnes Dispute

Posted on March 31, 2015

Patricia King - Patricia King, General Secretary Designate
Patricia King
Patricia King, General Secretary Designate

On Thursday April 2, the battle for Decent Work will spill over onto picket lines the length and breadth of the country.

Unionised workers at Dunnes Stores will strike for 24 hours in a bid to end the precarious work practices of their employer. The stoppages will continue until the practices change.

With 116 outlets and some 10,000 staff, Dunnes is one of the largest employers in the state. It also has some 40 stores across the UK and Spain and enjoys an annual turnover of €3.5 billion (2013). The Mandate trade union - which represents the majority of Dunnes workers – estimates the chain’s annual profits at up to €350 million. 

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Recognition of Palestinian State Good for Peace Process

Posted on March 18, 2015

Sir Vincent Fean
Sir Vincent Fean

In the aftermath of the Israeli election - won by the Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party - Sir Vincent Fean argues that official recognition of the Palestinian state will bolster efforts to bring a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Sir Vincent served as British Consul-General in Jerusalem from 2010-14. He writes here in a personal capacity.

 

Parliaments across Europe – including both Houses of the Irish Parliament – have moved to revive the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

They have done so by demanding that governments officially recognise Palestine on the 1967 borders with a view to stimulating a negotiated peace deal. 

Sweden’s recognition of Palestine last October can be followed across Europe in 2015.

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Permanent link | Categories: PalestinerecognitionsettlementsIsrael

Women's Lives Matter

Posted on March 04, 2015

Eileen Dinning, STUC
Eileen Dinning, STUC

Eileen Dinning*

If we are over 50% of the population, where are we in the power game ?

Well, not that prominent, if truth be told.

Media wise we see increasingly more women in positions of power. From senior politicians, NHS Chief Executives and Chief Constables, women’s profile is higher than it has ever been.

And yet, there is no significant improvement in women’s lives. If anything the trend is backwards.

Low pay persists and there is no sign of the gender pay gap closing.Women are paying out more on private childcare than on their mortgage payments, while the care system is creaking due to lack of funding and an increase in violence against women and children.

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Permanent link | Comments (0) | Categories: Women's DaySTUCEquality

Decent Work at Heart of Ethical Society

Posted on February 26, 2015

Guy Ryder
Guy Ryder

Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organisation

With 12 million of the more than 23 million unemployed Europeans looking for work for one year or more, many people do not have what some may consider the 'luxury' of a job.

The financial crisis that began in 2008 is still causing pain for many people in the European Union, and its effects have hit the Irish economy and labour market particularly hard.  

While Ireland’s GDP is now expected to grow at above the EU average and the situation may be moving in the right direction, the jobless rate in Ireland is still higher than the EU average.

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Permanent link | Categories: Guy RyderILOEthical Workplace

Inequality a Natural Outcome of Austerity

Posted on February 20, 2015

World Day for Social Justice
World Day for Social Justice

David Begg, Congress General Secretary

The Yale Professor, Robert Shiller, used his 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics acceptance speech to state that: “The most important problem that we are facing now today, I think, is rising inequality in the United States and elsewhere in the world.”

The truth of this was captured in one statistic from an Oxfam report in January 2015, which revealed that the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest.

Likewise, finance ministers attending the recent G20 meeting in Istanbul warned for the first time that the widening gap between rich and poor, following the 2008 financial crisis, may threaten economic and political stability.

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Defending the Right to Strike

Posted on February 11, 2015

Sharan Burrow, ITUC. Pic - Horst Wagner (ITUC)
Sharan Burrow, ITUC. Pic - Horst Wagner (ITUC)

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

In towns and cities, court rooms and corridors, workplaces and street corners the battle lines have been drawn for workers to hold on to their right to strike.

On February 18, a global day of action in support of the right to strike will demonstrate the will of working people to keep the right to withdraw their labour.

The day of action is in response to an audacious move by employer groups at the International Labour Organisation to end the international legal basis for the right to strike.  It is shaping up as a major test of the power of employers and big business to dictate wages and working conditions to employees. 

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Permanent link | Categories: Right to StrikeITUC

Ulster Unions Say No!

Posted on February 06, 2015

Peter Bunting, Assistant General Secretary, ICTU
Peter Bunting, Assistant General Secretary, ICTU

Peter Bunting, Congress Assistant General Secretary

On a cold Monday in January, the Belfast Telegraph reported that a ‘straw poll’ of local employers agreed that a big cut in Corporation Tax in NI would be good for them. Hold the front page.

The unscientific poll was concocted at a seminar organised by ‘tax experts EY’ (the trendy rebrand for Ernst & Young). Most present agreed with each other that “any cut to NI’s block grant should come out of a reduction in public spending.”

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Permanent link | Comments (0) | Categories: Northern IrelandStormont House Agreement

Who Remembers Charlie Hebdo?

Posted on January 29, 2015

seamus in paris - NUJ Irish Secretary, Seamus Dooley outside the Charlie Hebdo offices, Paris
seamus in paris
NUJ Irish Secretary, Seamus Dooley outside the Charlie Hebdo offices, Paris

Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, NUJ

Every morning I click on the International Federation of Journalists’ website

On the top right hand corner there’s a black countdown clock. It details the number of journalists and media staff killed so far this year.

As I write – on January 29 -  that number stands at 22.

This week my NUJ colleague Jim Boumelha, President of the IFJ  condemned the brutal murder of Mexican journalist Moises Sanchez Cerezo, from the town of Medellín de Bravo, in the state of Veracruz.

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Permanent link | Comments (0) | Categories: Charlie HebdoMediaNUJFreedom of Expression

Why European Year for Development is a Trade Union Issue

Posted on January 22, 2015

Davd Joyce, Congress - David Joyce, Equality Officer, Congress
Davd Joyce, Congress
David Joyce, Equality Officer, Congress

David Joyce, Congress Equality Officer

President Michael D Higgins was guest of honour at the Irish launch of the European Year for Development (EYD) in Dublin Castle, which was an appropriate way to mark this potentially critical year – for trade unions and wider society alike.

Over the course of 2015 two United Nations summits will effectively define the parameters for future international policy making:

  • In September, the UN will agree new goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a new ‘Sustainable Development Framework’ – to tackle poverty, inequality and environmental destruction, 
  • In December, the Climate Change Summit in Paris will set new climate action targets, to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

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Permanent link | Comments (0) | Categories: DevelopmentEqualityGlobal SolidarityClimate Change

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