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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

Freelance Workers to Regain Union Rights

Posted on January 12, 2015

Esther Lynch - Esther Lynch: Legislation & Social Affairs Officer, Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Esther Lynch
Esther Lynch: Legislation & Social Affairs Officer, Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Esther Lynch, Congress Legislation & Social Affairs Officer

A new ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) may force authorities across Europe to reverse policies that have resulted in the effective denial of full union rights to freelance workers, for over a decade.

The ruling – delivered by the court in December - arises from a case taken by Dutch unions which challenged the classification of freelance musicians as individual business ‘undertakings’.

Under competition law this meant they were not entitled to bargain collectively with their employer.

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Permanent link | Comments (0) | Categories: Freelance WorkersCollective Bargaining

The Charter of Corporate Rights

Posted on December 12, 2014

David Begg
David Begg

David Begg

Sometime in the not too distant future an Irish government could move to increase the minimum wage or introduce a living wage (http://www.livingwage.ie/), in order to boost growth and living standards.

Nothing very extraordinary in that, except perhaps that it runs counter to current orthodoxy which claims that driving down wages is the only way to secure recovery.

But after six years of this self-defeating nonsense, we are left with embedded depression and over 26 million people out of work across the Eurozone.

In such circumstances, it is entirely rational for electorates and governments to think anew about policies and politics that might actually work.

That would be the norm in any modern, democratic society.

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