Motion no: 4


Securing decent jobs is a core aim of all trade unions, to build a better future for all we need to win fairly paid jobs across all sectors. To do this we need to campaign and organise.

Conference calls on affiliate unions and Congress to support campaigns across all sectors which seek to ensure decent secure employment for working people and their families.

Conference acknowledges that the spread of Covid-19 has seen the best from many workers in many sectors with nurses and health workers risking their lives to protect and save communities, low paid workers such as cleaners, hauliers and retail staff working in difficult environments on low pay to keep services running to public sector workers paying benefits and working in meat plants to keep money in our pockets and food on out tables.

However, despite this heroic sacrifice, Conference is dismayed that many of these same workers are bearing the brunt of the worst effects of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. Workers are also at risk of losing the protections of EU derived rights, and every affiliate has seen an alarming increase in instances of precarious work, zero hours and temporary contracts, fire and rehire policies, rushed redundancies and increased surveillance and monitoring of workers.

Furthermore, conference endorses campaigns which challenge the ‘always on culture’ by seeking a ‘right to disconnect’. The digital revolution is dramatically changing the business environment in Northern Ireland. While digitalisation will potentially bring employers vast new profit, for workers it threatens to bring redundancies, job insecurity, job precarity, workplace monitoring and surveillance. Conference supports ICTU and affiliate unions in their work to protect workers from the negative impacts of future technology on work.

Whilst the UK Government department BEIS has recently announced a full U-turn on their review of employment rights, there are still concerns over what the future will hold for workers. Conference notes that the current Tory government has been exceptionally hostile to trade union and workers’ rights, passing the Trade Union Act 2016, which represented a direct attack on union’s ability to effectively represent and organise their members. Whilst the Act was not introduced in NI, thanks to the campaigning of the trade union movement, a raft of anti-trade union legislation is still on the statute books.

Conference enthusiastically supports legislation that will assist the trade union movement in its efforts to improve pay, terms and conditions for all workers, and that creates conditions where trade unions can more effectively campaign against privatisation in support of public services, for real living wages, for social equality policies and for working class demands. All legislation constraining the efforts of trade unions to organise workers and that acts as a barrier to collective action needs to go now.

Conference congratulates all unions in their campaigns to protect and defend the rights of working people.

Conference calls on the incoming NIC ICTU to

  • Campaign to repeal all anti-trade union laws
  • Campaign to ensure the NI Assembly outlaws fire and rehire practices
  • Support ‘right to disconnect’ campaigns
  • Support organising, strengthening of collective bargaining and industrial action
  • Campaign for worker and union friendly procurement policies
  • Campaign for strong employment rights, equality and diversity legislation which applies to all workers as a day one right.

These changes would greatly enhance the ability of unions to organise and therefore to win greater job security, pay and conditions for workers and their families. They would raise the standard for all workers and transform the economy in Northern Ireland.