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Independent Workers' Union Youth
- Me, Myself, and I
- When one mentions the Trade Union Movement in Ireland, the names of Jim Larkin and James Connolly are always mentioned in the same breath. Why? Because they were there at the beginning of the movement, which changed the lives of many workers and their families in Ireland for the better, when others in society cared little.Now is your opportunity to get involved in this new movement for change, and like Larkin and Connolly, form the very begining. Get involved to the degree that your ideas will actually shape this new Trade Union.
A group of Irish Trade Unionist were convinced that the Trade Union Movement in its present structure in Ireland has lost its way, and had become nothing more than an arm of the state and management. Its function has become more to control workers rather than advance their interests. People had worked for many years to attempt to reform the movement from within, and apart from some minor victories, their efforts have been continuously stifled by the powers that be within the present Trade Union hierarchy. It is now fair to conclude that the existing Trade Unions cannot be reformed for the advance of the Irish worker. Hence the formation of the I.W.U.
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On behalf of the IWU, I thank every one for coming. It is a pleasure to address people here in Donegal who are willing to embrace what trade unionism should be.
We are delighted to have with us today members of our union who have taken a brave stand to demand their rights, members who have resisted the employers mean attempt to deprive them of overtime rates. This group of workers have refused to accept intolerable working conditions. Employees of Donegal County Council, both manual and clerical have shown exemplary courage and commitment to the cause of social justice and the rights of workers. You have been of late an absolute inspiration to the IWU – this type of action inspires and encourages other workers.
I am particularly pleased to note that it was the women employees who lead out this protest and demonstrated a very commendable willingness to stand up for justice.
The type of difficulties experienced by these workers, are experienced globally. The reality we are faced with is neo liberalism manifesting its self as privatisation and the marketization of our economy. One example of this is the water charges in Northern Ireland. There is a rally in Belfast today to oppose water charges. Let us send them our solidarity. Northern politicians hailed the ‘deferring’ of water charges “as a step forward. This is not a step forward. The proposal to privatise the water service and charge working people for something they are already paying for must be abolished not deferred
Water charges is just not a single issue – The wealthy and the powerful have a plan to privatize every aspect of the economy to make it more ‘efficient’
This so called drive for efficiency does not lead to prosperity for the many – but it does lead to prosperity for the few - The few who rule the many. It leads to cruel individualisation where the strong and fortunate prosper and the rest of us suffer
In contemporary Ireland this incessant drive for privatizing and marketizing has caused the bosses to recognise the need for cheap labour. Migrant workers are cruelly exploited. This union plays its part in standing up for the needs of these vulnerable workers.
We in the IWU have from its foundation campaigned against the arrangement which facilitates the delivery of the neo liberal agenda in the republic of Ireland – that is social partnership. This arrangement provides for the compromise of workers rights. I am glad to say the IWU has no part in this ill conceived piece of works. The Irish working class must organise a fight back against its exploiters. There is never the less no reason to feel despondent; however there is a need to be vigilant.
We have witnessed the enlighten response of Irish people to Irish Ferries. We have witnessed the Shell to Sea Campaign and those who were willing to be imprisoned for their principles. Now we have the Donegal County Council workers saying enough is enough. The fishermen of Lough Neagh have taken on their employer. They are fighting to save their industry. They were dealt a hard blow last week by a decision made by the Certification Office, the government body responsible for regulating trade unions. The decision made by the Certification Office was in favour of their employer which has major consequences for this group of workers. The fishermen will meet next week to decide strategy for the future. They are present today and that’s an indication they are not willing to give up this fight.
This fight for workers rights is not over
This fight for workers rights is not lost
This fight is there to be won
With our IWU we have every intention of winning with the Irish migrant working class
Speaking of migrant workers, the migrant and immigration experience is no stranger to the Irish as a race. Susan Rosenthal makes the point in her brilliant book, just released, and available to purchase here today. Capitalism can cross any border in pursuit of profit but people are not allowed
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