International Working Women’s Day

This International Working Women’s Day the Trade Union Left Forum stands in solidarity with working women in Ireland and all women across the world suffering super exploitation and gender based violence.

We salute the many tens of thousands of working women who are active in their trade union, community groups, social campaigns as well as bearing an unequal responsibility for rearing children and sustaining families.

In particular we salute the women of occupied Palestine suffering the most horrendous and barbaric violence and genocide in Gaza and the West Bank at the hands of the zionist occupation army of the apartheid settler colonial state of Israel and supported and armed by the USA and EU.

The ruling classes across the world and here in Ireland are attempting to co-opt this important day in the lives of working women in order to neutralised the radical class based anti- imperialist politics that have underpinned organised events across the world on the 8th March for over a century.

Instead of an individualistic feminism that aims for upper-class women achieving equality with their male peers we need a workers’ feminism based on true solidarity between workers of all genders.

Women should join trade unions to demand better work-place conditions through collective bargaining, instead of hoping that their female boss will ask the CEO nicely.

Ultimately we should realise that women’s issues are a political and not an individualist struggle.

Everyone should has access to high-quality health services and reproductive health, not just the few executive women who “leaned in.”

Unaffordable housing, poverty wages, healthcare, climate change, border policing; are some of the issues that impact women globally.

Feminism shouldn’t start—or stop—with seeing women represented at the top of society.

Feminism must start with those at the bottom, and fight for the world they deserve. And that means targeting capitalism.

Feminism must be anti-capitalist, eco-socialist and anti-racist.

This is a manifesto for the 99%.

In Ireland the gender pay gap is currently 14%. If you took every woman TD elected in history and placed them in the Dáil chamber, there would still be 28 vacant seats left.

50% of workers in Ireland got paid less than €28,500 a year. For 50% of women workers it’s less than €22,000 a year

Three out of five women say their caring responsibilities for children and other vulnerable or elderly relatives are preventing them from applying for a new job or promotion.

“The worker is the slave of the capitalist Society the female worker is the slave of that slave” James Connolly

Supreme Court unanimously upholds Unite’s right to strike

Supreme Court unanimously upholds Unite’s right to strike

Unite reaction to historic court judgement

‘Historic’ judgement rejects employers’ injunction

In a ‘landmark ruling’, the Supreme Court has today found that Unite was fully legally entitled to undertake strike action in a dispute with construction company Jones Engineering. 

The strike action, which involved hundreds of mechanical workers employed by Jones Engineering, shut down construction work on Intel and Pfizer projects last year, in a dispute relating to travel time payments. Jones Engineering were initially successful in an application for an injunction, which placed extensive procedural hoops on Unite before it was able to commence industrial action. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a fantastic result and a historic win for all workers that will have far reaching consequences. This victory for Unite sends a powerful message to all employers that they can’t trample on a worker’s right to strike.  I am proud of our reps who faced enormous pressure by being named in the High and Supreme Court proceedings. This win vindicates them and underlines Unite’s commitment to do whatever it takes to defend our members.”

The Supreme Court unanimously found that Unite had fulfilled its obligations under the 1990 Industrial Relations Act and was entitled to the protections of the Act in carrying out industrial action. 

Tom Fitzgerald, Unite regional coordinating officer said, “The Supreme Court was unanimous and emphatic in stating that Unite was entitled to the protections of the 1990 Industrial Relations Act and that the injunction should not have been granted. “Unite will now sit down with our legal team to understand the ramifications of the decision, but this now clearly ends any ambiguity around the right to strike once unions ensure they comply with their obligations under the Act.

More from yesterday’s Supreme Court Ruling:
The chief justice noted that the freedom to form associations and unions is guaranteed by Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution and the entitlement to take part in industrial action must be seen in that context.
An important aspect of any right is the choice of when and where to exercise it, he added.
In his concurring decision Mr Justice Hogan said that the 1990 Act gives the Oireachtas the right to regulate trade union activity under Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution.
The courts he said “should not readily circumvent or frustrate this right.”
He added that the right to take industrial action must be safeguarded, so that the constitutional right to associate and form a trade union is given real meaning.
Insufficient weight has been given to this consideration in the case
law to date, the judge said.
In Summary:
The Supreme Court recognises the right to strike and the right for unions to decide when and where to go on strike.
Courts must not readily circumvent these rights quite the opposite they should protect them.
Courts have failed to do this in the past.
This reafirms the Right to Strike when and where unions decide.
May be a graphic of text that says 'FORUM UNION RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS'
March 7th, 2024 by TU Left Admin | Type: Standard
Filed Under: News

How to make your workplace Genocide free

Potential Trade Dispute

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has found it is “plausible” that Israel has committed acts that violate the Genocide Convention.

Article 1 of the Genocide Convention, of which Ireland is a signatory, states: “The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.”

Therefore the Irish government and the people of Ireland have an obligation to prevent genocide from occurring in Israel.

This genocide is only possible because of the economic power of Israel, resulting from the sale of goods and services from Israel globally.

Workers who do not wish to support the genocide can take steps to ensure their actions do not contribute to this genocide.

Workers can seek to add a provision into their contract of employment which allows them to not handle goods from countries where the ICJ has stated there is a plausible case that acts that violate the Genocide Convention have occurred.

To do this, the Trade Union Left Forum is urging all workers in Ireland to take the following steps:

1. Start or sign a petition to your employer asking them to cease selling goods or services from Israel.
2. Ask your colleagues to sign that petition too.
3. Request that your trade union lodges a claim that your contract of employment is changed to include a provision that you do not have to handle goods from countries under investigation for genocide.
The suggested wording for the petition is as follows:

“I, ________, am requesting that my employer ceases the sale of all goods and/or services from any country where the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has said there is a plausible case that acts which violate the Genocide Convention are occurring.”

The suggested wording for a change to your contract of employment is as follows:

“Employees of [insert name of company] are not required or expected to handle goods from countries where the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has stated there is a plausible case that acts that violate the Genocide Convention have occurred.”

If your employer refuses to alter your contract with this simple provision, it is possible to lead to a trade dispute.

If you are not already a member of a trade union, you will need to join one to protect you and enable a trade dispute to occur if your employer does not submit to your request.

We will post more information on this issue shortly.

Change to legislation
The Irish government can implement legislation, or allow the opposition to implement legislation, which would allow all workers the right to not handle goods from countries under investigation at the International Court of Justice for the crime of genocide.
This simple change to legislation would ensure that all workers who have a conscientious objection to the murder of innocent women and children can play their part in preventing any future deaths.
It may require an alteration to the Unfair Dismissals Act among other pieces of legislation.

Hungry Bellies: Exploring inequality and deprivation in Ireland

In this paper we provide detailed evidence of the growing economic inequality in Ireland (South) in 2021. We do so firstly to vindicate the work of all those volunteers, modern day heroes, who assist our most vulnerable people and families on a daily basis. The research data we present is elevated above mere academic commentary by Six sections detailing the current lived experiences of experts in the field from Penny Dinners (Cork), the Muslim Sisters of Eire, Inner City Helping Homeless, the Traveller Visibility Group, SPARK (Single Parents for the Right’s of Kids) and Ber Grogan’s amazing ‘Basket Brigade’.

But we also do so to address a growing false narrative that Irish inequality is falling. It is not. Such a dangerous narrative runs the real risk of allowing policy makers to pass the cost of the current pandemic onto those who can least afford it, as happened after the financial crash of 2008. Hubris is the enemy of fair and judicious policy making and, much as some would like to, you ‘can’t just intellectualise away inequality, poverty, deprivation and discrimination.’

Unite has argued through the pandemic that a fairer better Ireland can be created out of this darkness. Given the suffering of far too many it is essential that this is the case. But for it to happen we must begin with a full and fair presentation of the problem and the data.

Enjoy the paper.

Thursday February 25th

Hungry Bellies: New report debunks myth of falling economic inequality 

Unite warns against ‘using wrong tools to ask wrong questions to come up with wrong answers’

In a new report, Hungry Bellies are not Equal to Full Bellies, published today (Thursday), trade union Unite presents evidence to counter claims that inequality in Ireland is falling, and instead shows that economic inequality is unacceptably high and growing. An online event will be held at pm on Monday 1 March to discuss the findings in the paper and the lived experiences of those facing inequality, deprivation and discrimination.  The event will be hosted by Vincent Browne and participants will include Professor Kathleen Lynch, Louise Bayliss of SPARK, Ber Grogan of the Basket Brigade and a representative of Inner City Helping Homeless.  The event will be broadcast live on Unite’s Facebook page.

Key indicators of Ireland’s high levels of economic inequality include, but are not limited to:

  • Figures in 2019 – the most recent year for which data is available – showed an increase in the proportion of our population experiencing three or more types of deprivation
  • Median rents are at between 48% and 68% of the media wage
  • Over a third of those living in rental accommodation experience deprivation
  • In 2019, well before Covid struck, nearly a million people, or one in five of the population, were on waiting lists to see a consultant
  • Ireland has the highest level of inequality in earned income before tax in the EU28
  • Ireland lacks the robust collective bargaining provision needed to effectively address earnings inequality

Commenting on the findings in the report, Unite Senior Officer Brendan Ogle said:

“Myth-making is a bad Irish habit.  This was evident prior to the financial crash when commentators talked up the Irish economy even as the underlying problems became ever clearer.  Over a decade on, commentators are again feeding us myths, this time claiming that inequality in Ireland is falling.  This paper shows that such commentators are using the wrong tools to ask the wrong questions to come up with the wrong answers – answers which contradict not only the facts but also the lived experiences of people struggling to cope with inequality and deprivation, and those charities and volunteers working on the frontline to mitigate the impacts.  The report published today includes powerful testimonies from these frontline heroes.

“We can only address economic equality once we honestly recognise the extent of the problem in Irish society.  We can then start focusing on the remedies, from public housing to a universally accessible public health care system and measures to improve the lives of workers, their families and communities.”, Mr Ogle concluded.


Notes for editors:

Hungry Bellies are not Equal to Full Bellies: Exploring Inequality and Deprivation in Ireland is available for download here.

A webinar exploring the issues raised in the paper will be held on Monday 1 March at 8 pm.  The event will be hosted by Vincent Browne and will be broadcast live on Unite’s Facebook page.


For further information contact Unite ROI Senior Officer Brendan Ogle (Tel. 086-7778231) or Strategic Research, Community Development and Communications Support Rhona McCord (Tel. 086-1454274)

The WFTU on the forthcoming attack on Rafah – Palestine

National campaign to promote the benefits of trade union membership

The trade union movement has come together to create a national public

relations campaign to promote the benefits of trade union membership.


The publicity campaign is aimed at raising awareness of trade unions particularly among young workers.

The campaign launched formally on Valentine’s Day with the announcement of Union Week. which will take place between 29th April and 6th May 2024.

Union Week will involve a week of activity highlighting the work and achievements of trade unions.

It will be an opportunity to showcase the positive impact that trade unions have on workers’ lives and on broader society as well as to promote our contribution to the arts and culture.

The campaign is already up and running with advertisements on TV and regional radio stations, in bus shelters and on commuter public transport as well as on social media platforms such as Instagram, X, LinkedIn and Facebook. Videos on social media will feature members of various trade unions telling the story about why unions are vital for everyone at work and encouraging people who aren’t yet in a union to join.

Four SIPTU members are featured in the initial round of advertising: Martha Buckley, a health care assistant, and Siobhán Spillane a brewery worker from Cork; Victoria Nikitina, a contract cleaner from Limerick and Suzanne Armstrong, a bus driver from Dublin. We are most appreciative for their involvement in this high-profile national campaign and the great job they have done of positively promoting their union

Strike action on Translink bus and rail services today in absence of pay offer

Joint Transport Union press release

Bus and rail workers to conduct sixth one-day strike action on 1 February 

A further three strike dates in February are planned in campaign to secure a cost-of-living pay increase

More than 3,000 workers at Translink are to commence a further 24-hour stoppage tomorrow (Thursday 1 February) in the cost of living pay dispute. Members of the transport unions, Unite, GMB and SIPTU, will begin their sixth one day strike on a staggered basis from midnight. The strike will bring all bus and rail services across the  Six Counties to a standstill.

The strikes are a result of Translink failing to make any form of a pay offer to its workers. Funding for public transport services has been constrained with no money for a cost of living pay increase being made available as a result of the punitive budget imposed by secretary of state Chris Heaton-Harris.

Despite recent political developments, no improved pay offer has been made to the public transport unions. There is no clarity on the timing of such an offer or even a timeframe for negotiations.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Bus and Rail workers rightfully expect a pay increase that protects them from the worst inflationary surge in generations. Instead in a complete abdication of responsibility to its workers, Translink has failed to make any offer.

“As a result public transport workers have no alternative but to continue with planned strike action. They have the full support of Unite in their fight to win respect and a cost of living pay increase.”

GMB regional organiser Peter Macklin said: “Regardless of the latest developments at Stormont, our members are still facing the prospect of a zero per cent offer made last year being imposed. A few years ago, these workers were being hailed as frontline heroes. They deserve better and they are ready and willing to strike to secure it. 

“At any point, if a meaningful pay offer is received then that is something our members will consider and respond to appropriately but in the absence of any movement, we have no alternative but to proceed with the planned action.”

SIPTU regional organiser Niall McNally said: “In the aftermath of the 18 January one day public sector strike, secretary of state Chris Heaton-Harris said he would move to address the pressures on the public sector finances but as yet that has not translated into any offer for workers.

“We are hearing a lot of promises but so far we have no pay offer or even a timeline for a pay offer. Without that the unions will proceed with our agreed plans for further and escalated strike action in this dispute.”



Statement by the Council of Global Unions (CGU), 22 January 2024

The Council of Global Unions expressed unwavering support and solidarity with the unionists, civil and human rights defenders, and the people of Argentina struggling to defend democracy in the face of repressive measures proposed by the new Javier Milei administration. We fully support the Argentine 24 January general strike and call on affiliates to participate in solidarity actions in their countries.

The new president of Argentina has put forward a raft of draconian, anti-democratic legislation that threatens decades of progress and hard-fought social protections. Trade unions around the word are particularly concerned about the Protocol for Social and Trade Union Mobilizations, which sets extremely restrictive rules; the DNU Decree (Decreto de Necesidad y Urgencia), which aims to eliminate more than three hundred laws; and the controversial draft “ley ómnibus”, which would provide sweeping powers to the administration to implement measures detrimental to citizens, workers and unionists.

Argentina’s trade unions have played — and continue to play — a vital role championing human and trade union rights and the advancement of civic values in Argentina. The Global Union Federations and the ITUC stand firmly behind the CGT, CTA-T, CTA-A, and ITUC/CSA in their ongoing struggle to make Argentina more just. 

That is why ITUC/TUCA-CSA and GUFs and ITUC affiliates worldwide support the call for a General Strike and demonstrations issued for 24 January 2024, in Argentina, despite the threats expressed by the authorities and the limitations to the right to strike combined with prison sentences and economic sanctions.

We request that the Argentine government stop issuing legislation proposals unilaterally, but start negotiating with unions on ways to deal with labour issues.

We also stand with local actions supporting Argentine unions worldwide to actively oppose these regressive policies that threaten the foundations of a democracy.

We cannot allow democratic backsliding in Argentina. We must act now.


Why did 150,000 public sector workers go on strike in the North

Official figures show that between April 2022 and April 2023, real pay (adjusted for inflation) in the public sector fell by 7.2%. That decline came on the heels of real pay falling by more than 4% between April 2021 and April 2022, and two decades of no growth in public sector real pay. While there is much talk about an “Irish Sea border” because of post-Brexit trade arrangements, a sea border of sorts already exists when it comes to public sector earnings. Differences in public sector pay between the North and the UK are substantial and even greater over the border in the rest of the country. Newly qualified teachers in Britain make about £30,000, while in the North they start on £24,000 in the south they start on £33,375. A newly qualified doctor in the North earns a base salary of £26,000 per year.
In England the starting rate is over £32,000

In Scotland it is £31,000.

However South of the border a newly qualified doctor starts off at £52,986.53 per year in the HSE twice that of a doctor in the North
There were calls for Pay parity with “The rest of the UK” People and unions need to decolonise their minds forget about Britain and turn their attention to building a united Ireland as envisaged in the 1916 Revolution.
Onwards to the Workers’ Republic
“The Irish people will only be free, when they own everything from the plough to the stars.”
May be an image of map and text that says 'Teacher's Starting Salary Scotland £32,217 £24.137 Nhof Ireland £33,735 Ireland £30,000 England Wales £30,742 TULF'

Solidarity with the 175,000 workers on strike in the north today for an inflation linked cost of living pay increase

TULF stands in solidarity with the 15 trade unions representing 170,000 workers taking part in the Generalised Day of Strike Action across the 6 counties.
The co-ordinated day of strikes is the most significant, militant action by the organised working class in the north for a generation.
We call on the British Secretary of State for the 6 counties to immediately accede to the demands of the public sector unions. Over the past year the strike actions in pursuit of the unions’ demands have had unprecedented support from union members and the general public. Unfortunately, even though he has admitted that he has the funds to settle the dispute, the British Secretary of State is refusing to do so until the DUP agrees to restore the Executive.
His refusal to settle the dispute exposes the lack of democracy which exists within the 6 counties.

Westminster is in control of the purse-strings and even if the Executive was functioning, it could only administer the funds provided by Westminster. The absence of the Executive merely removes the veneer of democratic control by the Assembly.

The Generalised Day of Action, called by the ICTU, shows the power of the organised working class. This power must be used to push for a better society in which the interests of the working class are central. Central to any such campaign must be demands for an all-Ireland health system free at the point of use, an all-Ireland housing policy and all-Ireland industrial and environmental plans.
This is not a cost-of-living crisis it’s the price of capitalism crisis.