Respect Retail Works

This ongoing and vitally important campaign came about as a result of an increase in complaints from retail workers regarding the amounts of both verbal and physical abuse from customers. Mandate conducted an extensive survey involving over 20 retail businesses and their employees

This campaign is undoubtedly Mandate’s most significant campaign in several years and has a number of objectives including raising awareness of this issue and trying to influence change from a small number of people who tend to abuse retail workers as well as securing stronger health and safety protections in the workplace for vulnerable workers in Irish retail.

 

The booklet “Voices in Retail” outlines the aims and objectives of the Respect Retail Workers Campaign in more detail and also details harrowing real life experiences of ordinary retail workers from the front line as well as providing an insight into the worrying statistical survey results and can be accessed via the link below.

If you wish to become involved in the Respect Retail Workers Campaign in your local area do not hesitate to contact your local shop steward or alternatively respect@mandate.ie

As Delfin pickets resume tomorrow, unrest in sector spreads with dispute at IBAT

November 10th: Unite, which represents English Language Teachers throughout Ireland, today (Sunday) announced that pickets will resume tomorrow at Delfin English School while members in IBAT have also voted to take industrial action and will be holding a series of one-hour stoppages starting tomorrow with the potential for escalation if issues in dispute are not resolved.

Teachers at Delfin will be taking strike action from  November 11th to November 15th inclusive, and from December 2nd to December  6th inclusive.  Teachers at IBAT will be holding one-hour stoppages (morning and afternoon) tomorrow and Friday, as well as on November 18th, 22nd, 25th and 29th.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne said:

“The international education sector, of which ELT is a large part, is booming, with the government projecting that the value of the sector will grow to over €2 billion by next year.  Committed, experienced and highly-skilled teachers are central to that success, yet they are often low-paid and often employed on precarious contracts.

“Rather than talking collectively to teachers about their concerns through the union of their choice, school management often rely on a culture of intimidation to squeeze pay and conditions while maximising their profits.

“Based on the feedback from our members, Unite believes that unrest in the sector will continue to spread unless and until there is a negotiated collective agreement.  We are hopeful that the Labour Court will recommend such an agreement in the near future”, Mr Byrne said.

International Solidarity:

Coca-Cola workers in Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, and the USA still need your support

 

Coca-Cola continues to violate the fundamental rights of workers in Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland and the USA.

In Haiti its bottler La Brasserie de la Couronne continues to systematically deny workers their right to form and be represented by a union, SYTBRACOUR (read more here).

In Indonesia Coca-Cola bottler Amatil pursues its long running attack on the rights of independent, democratic trade unions (for more read here).

In Ireland, The Coca-Cola Company closed two of its directly owned concentrate plants, both of which were strongly unionized, and shifted production to the remaining plant in Ballina, where it refuses to engage in collective bargaining with the IUF-affiliated SIPTU.

In the USA the Company’s bottler spent more than 330,000.00 US dollars hiring a union-busting consultant firm to persuade workers at its Greenfield bottling plant to not join the RWDSU/UFCW.

Please show your support for these workers and the fight for rights in the Coca-Cola system. USE THE FORM BELOW TO SEND A MESSAGE to The Coca-Cola Company’s CEO and Chairman James Quincey, expressing your outrage over these ongoing human rights violations and demanding the Company act to remedy them. Your name will also be added to a petition that will be delivered to The Coca-Cola Company.

Your name:  [required]
Your email:  [required]
Your union/organization:
Country:
Here is the message you are sending:

To Mr. James Quincey, CEO and Chairman, The Coca-Cola Company
Cc Mr. Brent Wilton, Director, Global Workplace Rights, The Coca-Cola Company

Dear Mr. Quincey,

Despite two years of dialogue with the IUF serious workplace rights abuses continue at the Coca-Cola concentrate syrup manufacturing plant in Ballina, Ireland, and at your bottlers in Haiti, Indonesia, and the USA.

If we are to believe your Company’s claims to respect human rights, these situations should not have arisen. Having been drawn to your attention, they should have been promptly resolved, and workers’ rights recognized and respected. That is not happening.

I call on you to personally intervene. In view of the Company’s repeated declarations on respecting rights, I am sure you agree that in all these cases The Coca-Cola Company must return to compliance with international human and workplace rights standards. Your consumers and the wider public should also be confident that the Company’s own human rights policy needs to be applied in full by the Company and its bottlers around the world.

Yours sincerely,

If you wish to send your own message and not use this text, please open your email client and paste these addresses into the To field:
actions@iuf.org

SIPTU will oppose any compulsory redundancies at RTÉ

Date Released: 07 November 2019

SIPTU representatives have stated that they will oppose any attempt to enforce compulsory redundancies on staff in RTÉ following the emergence of a plan to impose 200 job cuts at the national broadcaster.

SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “SIPTU will oppose any attempt to enforce compulsory redundancies on staff in RTE. A plan for cutbacks at the national broadcaster, which was disgracefully leaked to the media yesterday (Wednesday, 6th November), reveals plans to cut 200 jobs.

“The plan envisages that these job cuts will be achieved on a voluntary basis. However, there have already been several rounds of voluntary redundancies at the station, the last one of which was not fully subscribed. It is unclear to our members how 200 voluntary redundancies can be achieved.

“These workers have been through several rounds of rationalisation at the station. They have taken the pain to assist in ensuring the survival of the crucial services which are provided by RTÉ and the thanks they have received is to be faced with an ultimatum concerning job cuts.”

She added: “What has made this situation even worse is the way this plan was exposed. Only senior management at RTÉ had access to this plan yet it was leaked to the media. This was extremely disrespectful to the loyal staff at the station.

“How and why this leak occurred is a matter that RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes must investigate and action must be taken against the culprit to deal with this extreme breach of trust.”

SIPTU and its affiliate unions, Equity Ireland and the Musicians Union of Ireland, represent approximately 1,200 RTÉ staff members.

The fight to empower workers and save the trade union movement

The power of workers in society has been declining consistently since the 1970s. Power, measured by various metrics, such as union membership, union density, and days of industrial action, has been on a steady decline, related to and proportionate to the increased wealth of the rich and the transformation of Ireland into a haven for foreign direct investment and, more recently, a tax haven.

As workers have less power in society, ideology and politics have shifted significantly to the right. Governments have implemented policy after policy that has left Ireland deeply divided and unequal. Liberal moves in recent times should not mask what is an extremely right-wing political establishment and ideology that is accepted within many parties.

In this situation, to many workers the trade union movement is irrelevant. For years, through “partnership,” it was seen as—and actually was—a partner to the Government that didn’t deliver for workers. Now when it tries to engage on broader social or political issues it is often met with confusion or indifference, sometimes even hostility, from within its own ranks. Yet where unions engage and organise in work-places and on work-place issues we see many examples of workers joining, becoming involved and altering the balance of power in their work-place, for example for better pay, hours, or contracts.

Trade union membership has been steadily declining for decades, somewhat masked for a while by the property boom. It’s fair to say that it faces a threat to its very existence. The decline may have slowed recently, thanks to the hard work of organisers and worker activists in some unions and industries; but the movement is essentially in a slow and steady decline.

Union mergers, while sometimes logical, rarely if ever alter this decline. The merged union often becomes little more than one big declining union and often ends up more distant from workers and work-places, more bureaucratic, and prone to bitter internal rows.

This is the challenge we face, and we should face it head on. The solution in fact is amazingly simple—because we know what works. When union activists, organisers and officials engage with workers, listen to the issues in their work-places, and together agree a way forward based on talking to the workers, then we both grow the union and alter the balance of power in the work-place.

Listen and talk to workers. Organise workers in work-places. It won’t always work perfectly well; you won’t always get the same results in different work-places. There are power structures beyond our control or influence; but we can control what we do and what we give priority to.

So, what will empower workers and save the movement? Organise in work-places. And, complementary to this, we should campaign to change the conditions under which we organise and act as unions. A Fair Work Act covering such things as right to access, collective bargaining and better strike laws would make work-place organising more successful.

Taken together, this strategy would alter the balance of power in society back more towards workers and away from the rich and the establishment. This would change the political discourse and provide a material basis for these faint cries for “left unity” and for the failed efforts previously made by unions.

But it must be this way round, otherwise it is doomed to failure and another big mistake. To attempt to build some kind of political unity on disjointed and disconnected political entities or individuals is as likely to fail as the union merger strategy, as it doesn’t sit on top of any material foundations. We urgently need to build the foundations through organising workers and changing the rules on which we act.

The politics will follow then in a much stronger, more real and organic way.

Education report highlights budget failure

 

News from INTO.

The Department for Education and Skills published a report today, ‘Education Indicators for Ireland 2019’ which provides an overview of the current state of primary, post-primary and third level education in Ireland.

Class Sizes 

Today’s report shows that Irish primary schools remain crowded, four above the EU average. Smaller classes support inclusion and diversity of children, allow for more individual attention and meet the ambition of our government to establish the best education system in Europe.

INTO is calling for Ireland to meet the Eurozone average of twenty pupils in a single class. Despite acknowledging the class size differential in small schools and the school funding challenges facing all of our primary schools, Budget 2020 failed to deliver lower class sizes or reduce the funding pressures facing schools.

Special Education 

Primary schools have always been open and inclusive places for students with special needs and today’s figures show that schools are providing education to an ever-increasing number of students with special needs in mainstream schools.

However, there are insufficient numbers of special education teachers and SNAs available in primary schools. Our members routinely share their difficulties in accessing such resources, alongside clinical therapy services such as speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, behavioural therapists and other counselling services. Supports for students with mental health difficulties are practically non-existent and NEPS is under-resourced.

There is currently a small-scale demonstration project in operation regarding the provision of school-based therapy services but it’s imperative this is rolled out on a national basis.

School Leadership

School leaders and pupils were short-changed in this month’s budget. Our teaching principals deserve the support they need to be leaders within their schools. Principals and teaching principals in Irish primary schools are overworked, underpaid and grappling with never-ending administrative work. They are also cast in the role of fundraisers due to the serious underfunding of primary schools.

To support school leadership, it is time to restore the key middle management posts cut ten years ago. Budget 2020 was an opportunity when essential Assistant Principal posts could have been given back to schools. Teaching principals have demanded a minimum of one leadership and management day per week and Budget 2020 has failed to deliver on either of these reasonable demands.

A copy of the report is available here.

 

‘Ever onward to victory’

We publish here the full speech of ULISES GUILARTE de NACIMENTO, general secretary of the Cuban Trade Union Confederation (CTC) to the TUC Congress in Brighton this year

Dear Comrades,

I am honoured in the name of the CTC — the central organisation of the Cuban trade unions, and all our affiliates in expressing fraternal greetings to the 151st TUC Congress, especially your general secretary Frances O’Grady.

The TUC and the CTC have maintained historical relations of friendship, solidarity and mutual co-operation, which have passed the tests of time based on our traditions of struggle for the defence of workers’ rights.

The land where Fidel Castro and Jose Marti were born, where Che Guevara fought for his ideals of justice, has endured more than 60 years of the criminal commercial and financial economic blockade that the United States government has imposed on us unilaterally, not bowing to the orders of the empire and building a social project flying the flags of socialism and independence.

A blockade that has been tightened in a new interventionist escalation with the application of the Helms-Burton law passed in 1996, whose extraterritorial nature constitutes a violation of international law and transgresses the sovereignty of other states.

The blockade causes deprivation to our people, does not allow the acquisition of supplies, medicines and raw materials from North American companies, with consequent interruptions that paralyse our industries.

It is the main obstacle to our development programmes, limiting access to sources of financing and foreign investment by exercising political pressures and penalising the banks that carry out commercial operations with our country.

As a result of the blockade, non-state workers involved in catering, running restaurants and guest houses and those who provide taxi services have seen their income reduced due to the elimination of cruise and airline travel for US tourists, as well as the drastic reduction in licences that Americans must obtain to travel to Cuba.

The Helms-Burton Act expresses the absurd idea of ​​establishing claims in US courts, demanding the return of land that before 1959 was in the hands of exploiters and which the revolution handed over to farmers who today produce food.

It also enables legal claims on former military barracks used by the old Batista dictatorship and now converted into schools where today more than 1.7 million children and young people study, and on factories now operated by our workers who own the fundamental means of production and generate the goods that the people require.

The blockade, over six decades, has caused huge losses to the Cuban economy of more than $138 billion at current prices and $922 billion taking into account the depreciation of the dollar compared to the value of gold on the international market.

Its main objective is to strangle our economy and fracture the spirit of rebellion that fertilises our revolution. With criminal eagerness, they never waver in ignoring the practically unanimous mandate of the general assembly of the United Nations that every year calls for the end of the blockade.

We need to strengthen the campaign outside Cuba to build understanding of the enormous magnitude of this perfidious aggression by the US against us, which mutates and diversifies daily without legal or ethical limits. We take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank you once again for the solidarity that we have received from you during all these years

Together we are sure we will win. The American empire already knows the taste of defeat on Cuban soil, such as the one we gave it in April 1961 in the Bay of Pigs — in which international solidarity also played a crucial role.

The world of work is changing as a consequence of the rapid pace of technological innovation and the formation of new professional skills, demographic evolution and climate change, together with the progressive and systemic crisis of capitalism and the impact of its neoliberal policy causing the loss of social and labour conquests of large masses of workers.

200 million people are unemployed today and 21 million are victims of forced labour to which discriminatory practices are added for the large waves of migrant workers.

2.3 million workers lose their lives every year when working in dangerous environments, and a significant percentage acquires occupational diseases.

Labour reforms recently applied in several countries have restricted collective bargaining, while pockets of poverty and the precariousness of contracts are growing.

This sad but real panorama, a reflection of the current unjust, exclusive and decadent international economic order, poses challenges for the international trade union movement, imposing on us the need to articulate more effectively a campaign of struggle and union action that increasingly integrates national, regional and international interests in different multilateral scenarios.

Fellow delegates and guests to this congress:

Cuba, a small island in the Caribbean, continues to be involved in the improvement of its economic model as a sovereign, independent, and socialist nation, a subject widely debated in our recently concluded 21st CTC Congress.

Likewise, as a result of a democratic, participatory and contributory process of popular consultation, the new Constitution of the Republic was approved, where rights that constitute a chimera for many countries of the world were endorsed for workers.

With our own efforts, we have achieved world breaking results in global health and education indexes, in the promotion of gender equality, equitable wellbeing and in the development of international co-operation and solidarity.

Hundreds of Cuban doctors have risked their lives treating and curing patients hit by the Ebola epidemic in several African countries. This truth cannot be hidden by the lies that media monopolies divulge in their eagerness to discredit the professionalism, ethics and humanistic commitment of our medical missions.

3.4 million people from 34 countries have benefited from free eye operations through “Operation Miracle” and nine million adults have become literate though the Cuban pedagogy project “Yes I can.”

These examples confirm that achieving the ideal of a better world goes beyond a national project and is part of an integrationist vision, that Cuba continues to demonstrate with its modest material and human resources.

In this sense we will continue to accompany the heroic resistance of the Venezuelan people, their legitimate president Nicolas Maduro and the military civic union, which has caused the economic siege that they have imposed on him to fail.

We demand the release of comrade Lula in Brazil, a prisoner under false charges, we denounce the aggressions and lies spread against the Nicaraguan government, and we will work together with the social partners in the region for unity within the diversity of our America as the great homeland that was the dream of our heroes.

Dear union leaders, the Cuban delegation expresses its gratitude for the invitation to participate in this congress.

The international trade union movement can always count on the sincere voice of Cuba in the condemnation of injustice and inequality, while working for the establishment of a world centred on the human being, his or her dignity, and the wellbeing of workers.

Long live solidarity among the peoples of the world!

Long live peace and friendship!

Ever onward to victory.

GoSafe Workers-Update

SIPTU members in GoSafe to hold protest at Leinster House on Thursday 7th November

Date Released: 31 October 2019

SIPTU members in GoSafe are to hold a further one day stoppage on Thursday, 7th November, due to the company’s continued to refusal to accept a Labour Court recommendation that it engages with the union on their behalf. The workers, who operate speed cameras across the country, are in dispute which is centred on conditions of employment and health and safety issues

The GoSafe workers will also hold a protest outside Leinster House at 1.00 p.m. on the same day to highlight the manner in which the Department of Justice and the Garda have contracted the company in breach of the public procurement provisions of the Public Service Agreements.
 
SIPTU Organiser, Brendan Carr said: “Under the agreements made between SIPTU and other public service unions with the Government, state bodies should not use the services of companies which refuse to engage with the State’s industrial relations machinery.
 
“GoSafe has refused to attend the Workplace Relation Commission (WRC) in relation to its dispute with SIPTU members over conditions of employment and health and safety issues and has also refused to implement a Labour Court recommendation.”
 
He added: “The protest at Leinster House on Thursday 7th November is supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions which believes this dispute has wider implications for the public service agreements and has lobbied both the Department and the Garda on behalf of the GoSafe workers.”

Int’l Solidarity: Kazakhstan: Trade unionist Erlan Baltabay imprisoned – again!

Globally Union Activisits are being imprisoned, sacked and murdered on a daily basis by all kind on anti-democratic states. It our duty to support our comrades wherever they seek justice. Please  click on this link and support Erlan Baltabay in Kazakhstan.

In July this year, Erlan Baltabay, a leader of the Independent Oil and Energy Workers’ Union in Kazakhstan, was sentenced to seven years in prison on politically motivated charges. A huge international union mobilization followed, including a LabourStart campaign signed by thousands calling for his release. He was released from prison in August after being pardoned by the President and was able to return home to his family.

He has now been imprisoned again.

His seven-year sentence was replaced with a fine. Baltabay refuses to pay the fine, because he is innocent. He demands the right to appeal his sentence. The Kazakh authorities have jailed him, giving him a new, five-month sentence.

In the eyes of the Kazakh authorities, Baltabay’s real crime is defending workers’ rights. They are hoping that the international trade union movement has forgotten about him.

Let’s show them they are wrong. Send a message to the Kazakh authorities, urging them to drop all charges, release him from prison, restore his rights and lift the ban on conducting public activity, including trade union activity.

Strike action at ABP Meats, Lurganset to bring production lines to a standstill on Monday 4th Nov

Latest update from ICTU Website.

Strike action at ABP Meats, Lurgan set to bring production lines to a standstill on Monday [November 4th]

 

 

First twenty-four hour strike at meat packing factory to commence midnight Monday [November 4th]

Overwhelming support for industrial action driven by workers’ concerns over impact on childcare responsibilities

Unite Regional Officer Brian Hewitt explained the background to a planned strike action by his members working in the Lurgan plant of Larry Goodman-owned, Anglo Beef Processing (NI).

“Management in ABP meats in Lurgan have adopted an extremely antagonistic and aggressive approach to their workforce. Workers have been left with no alternative but to take strike action to defend themselves and their families.

“The first twenty-four hour strike action will commence from midnight on Monday [November 4th] with pickets formed from six am at the gates to the company’s Lurgan plant. The strike action follows an overwhelming 93.1 percent vote of workers for action in an independently conducted industrial ballot. 

“Bosses have attempted to push a change to the start times on the workforce and have offered them a measly two percent pay increase in return. The pay increase itself is an insult to the workers. Not only is it significantly below the current rate of inflation – at a time when the ABP meat group are reported in the press to have declared €170 million in profits for 2018 – but it is tied to plans to early start times for shifts.  

“Parents who work shifts – some of whom earn little more than the bare, legal minimum – are already struggling to secure appropriate care cover for their children in the hours before school. Management plans will only further increase the hardship on working parents through the difficulties and costs involved securing childcare cover.

“Far from recognise the difficulties caused by their plans for those with care responsibilities, ABP meats have adopted an extremely high-handed approach to their employees and to our union. 

In the mouth of Christmas, workers will be forced to stand long hours on picket lines in the cold, striking to defend their ability to provide care for their children in the mornings. Responsibility for this disgraceful situation falls squarely in the lap of ABP bosses. We call on them to step back, see sense and engage with the union in good faith to negotiate terms agreeable to their workforce”, Mr Hewitt concluded.