Women Organising for Decent Work
6 Mar 2014
200 trade union delegates from across the island have gathered in Wexford for the biennial Congress Women's Conference. The delegates will debate 21 motions and hear from a number of guest speakers over the 2 days - 6/7th March. Full details and report to conference available here
Theresa Devenney, Joint Chair Women's CommitteeCongress President, John Douglas, opened the conference noting that women make up the majority of trade union membership on the island of Ireland. And, that the delegates here this morning represent nearly 400,000 working women on the island. And, that this number of women organising for decent work is a very considerable resource for this movement to have – and one whose participation we need to improve if we are to fully realise our potential for change in Irish workplaces and wider society. Full speech here
Maire Mulcahy, Joint Chair Women's CommitteeCongress Assistant General Secretary, Sally Anne Kinahan gave a brief presentation on the labour market before 5 women addressed conference on their experience of precarious work and unemployment. "Greater income inequality, higher levels of insecure work and the emergence of a ‘two-tier’ workforce pose a serious problem for women workers" she said. Full press release for conference here, 5 women gave personal testimonies about their experience of the labour market:
- Margaret O’Dwyer, MANDATE;
- Laura McKenna, SIPTU;
- Marion Jackson, IMPACT
- Janet Orr, UNISON
- Jackie McNeill, USDAW
Pamela Dooley introduced the section on Women and Trade Unions, including the results of our 2013 Equality Audit. Full presentation here
Ann Henderson, Assistant Secretary, Scottish TUC gave an input on the importance of investment in child care folloowing which this motion, proposed by the Congress Women's Committee was debated and passed.
Grainne Healy of Marriage Equality addressed conference urging the trade union movement to be strong advocates in the upcoming referendum in the Republic of Ireland. A motion on the issue was then debated and passed unanimously
Other motions included:
Independence of irish Human Rights and Equality Commission here
Respect for gender identity here
Mental health here
Domestic Workers here
Emergency motion calling for immediate release of Margaretta Darcy here
Delegates also enjoyed this brief video clip from The European Women's Lobby: “A she-(re) cession” - What does austerity mean for women in Europe?” to raise awareness on the effects austerity policies continue to have on women in Europe.
Day one finished with a song "One Woman" launched by the UN for International Women's Day 2013 and the conference ended with a rousing rendition of Bread and Roses sung by Siobhan Meyler-Fossit accompnaied by Donogh Wilde.
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