Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Northern SIPTU activists join 100,000 Strong March against Cuts in Dublin

Workers, Students, Pensioners, and people struggling to get a job came from across Ireland on Saturday to the streets of Dublin.

SIPTU activists from the north joined with over 100,000 people marching against the 'devastating cuts' being proposed in the Dublin government's 4 year plan, and the 'disastrous financial package' negotiated with the IMF/ECB.

Among those who addressed the thronged rally in Dublin, was SIPTU President Jack O'Connor.

SIPTU Organiser Martin O'Rourke speaking on the march, said,

"These devastating cuts and disastrous financial package contained in the 4 year plan will do nothing but lay further waste to the Irish economy, which will have a detrimental impact on the north already facing huge strain from proposed cuts by the Tory government. It is everyone's business to make a stand and prevent these measures from being introduced which if allowed to proceed will create further mass unemployment, see emigration figures soar, obliterate local business and investment, and create wide scale poverty and deprivation."
"We in SIPTU have constantly said there is a better fairer way, and that is to invest in our economy, to create a job stimulus package. Not to pour tax payers money down the drain by bailing out the bankers and selling the Irish economy out to International Loan Sharks."

"Just as many workers from across Ireland joined the Belfast rallies against cuts, so too workers from the north joined the Dublin march. Highlighting the solidarity that exists across the Trade Union movement in Ireland, and the great sense of collective responsibility in resisting and preventing cuts whether they come from Dublin or London."

"We all have a stake in preventing these cuts from being implemented; they will impact on all our futures. We all need to make a stand on the streets and when election time comes punish the parties and politicians proposing and supporting these crazy measures."

SIPTU react angrily to Tory arrogance

SIPTU Organiser Teri Cregan has reacted angrily to the Secretary of State Owen Paterson's recent assertion that there would be 'no negotiation' on the £4bn of cuts facing the north.

He made the remarks while giving a speech at a Co-operation Ireland dinner in Belfast on Thursday evening, stating.

"A settlement is precisely that - a settlement. It is not the opening round of a negotiation... Northern Ireland is now the only part of the United Kingdom that hasn't set a budget following the spending review settlement. That cannot go on."

Ms Cregan branded the statement as "Tory arrogance in the extreme."

(Secretary of State, Owen Paterson) 

She continued,

"An agreement is an agreement and the British government simply cannot renege on their commitments at St Andrews. We will not be pressurised into accepting the unacceptable, we will not buy the false argument that 'there is no alternative.' Thousands of people came together at Belfast City Hall in September and October making a clear stand against cuts and endorsing the Trade Union's clear and coherent alternative to the extremely punitive cuts which the Tory government are trying to force on the Assembly."

"The Tory millionaire cabinet are completely detached from reality if they think that people will just roll over and accept these disastrous cuts, we do have an alternative and the Trade Unions have presented a clear and grounded plan for economic recovery that does not involve harsh cuts which target those most in need."

"There is a better fairer way, and SIPTU will play a key role in the wider campaign and movement against Tory imposed cuts."

(Detached Millionaire Tory Cabinet)


SIPTU members take up key elected positions on Belfast City Council and the Assembly

SIPTU's lead organiser for the north Martin O'Rourke has congratulated two SIPTU members for taking up key elected positions in Belfast City Council and the Assembly.

Jim McVeigh and Pat Sheehan from Belfast are members of SIPTU's community branch in the north, and both have played a significant role in attracting new members to the union, particularly from the community and voluntary sector.

Jim will be co-opted as a councillor for the Lower Falls, and will also become the Sinn Féin group leader in Belfast City Council, while Pat has replaced Gerry Adams as MLA for West Belfast.

Speaking on this positive development, Martin O'Rourke said,

"I would like to congratulate both Jim and Pat for taking up their new elected positions in Belfast City Council and the Assembly respectively. Both men have played a very constructive role in attracting new members to SIPTU, and are playing their part in the fight back against public cuts, particularly to the community and voluntary sector."

"We will continue to work together on these issues, and I know Jim and Pat will utilise their new positions to assist further with the campaign against the cuts, using it as a platform to reach more people, and mobilise more support."

Friday, 26 November 2010

Boots workers stronger together - SIPTU

The SIPTU Boots organising committee met recently (Tues 23rd Nov) to access the progress that they have made over this past year, noting the surge in SIPTU membership and the huge interest in union activity amongst Boots workers. 

They also identified key issues of importance to workers and developed an effective plan for the year ahead.

SIPTU have hundreds of members in Boots stores across the north who are proactively campaigning in support of 'Dignity and Respect in the Workplace.'

Noting the progress of the Boots Organising Committee, SIPTU Organiser Teri Cregan said,

"Many Boots workers have flagged up bad practice by the management in dealing with their concerns, these workers simply want to be treated fairly and squarely, with the respect and dignity that they deserve and are entitled too."

"We hope the management will work with us in a positive and proactive manner to improve the working environment at Boots which will work to everyone's benefit, delivering the best result for the customers, the workers and to the very profitable employer."

"As SIPTU has increased its membership across Boots, the collective confidence of workers has improved. As we have brought the workers together, they have become stronger, and the Boots organising committee are vocal and effective in looking out for the interests of the staff and representing their needs."

"The simple message is that together we are stronger, and if we work collectively we can achieve much more."
If you are interesting in joining SIPTU or finding out more please contact; 028 9031 4000.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Down with Browne

Martin O'Rourke

SIPTU is absolutely opposed to the lifting of the cap on University tuition fees proposed through the Browne review which could see fees soar to an extortionate rate of up to £12,000 per year.

It beggars belief that these proposals be put forward at anytime, never mind in the depths of one of the harshest economic recessions.

The Browne review or any other proposed hike in student or tuition fees can not be allowed to happen, this will only result in preventing thousands of young people from low to middle income earning families from going to University and in thousands more emigrating with little to no prospects here.

In short it will create a two tier third level education system were only those that can afford it can avail of it.

Is this the type of society we want to build?

SIPTU believe in a knowledge economy and in building a skilled workforce with our young people being encouraged and assisted in excelling in their chosen career.

Our short term investment in them will ensure a brighter long term future for all of us.

To do otherwise, to make third level education the preserve of the rich will set us back a hundred years and signal the death knell of our economy.

We are heartened by the campaigning of students to prevent the crazy hike in student fees by a detached Tory cabinet stuck in their millionaire bubble.

The students of today are the workers of tomorrow, they will be the backbone of any resurgence in the economy and in creating a more stable, viable and equal society.

Let's treat them with the importance that they deserve.

Their campaign dovetails into the overall trade unions campaign against cuts and in the time ahead we want to encourage maximum unity and solidarity between all stake holders in this struggle, be they student, worker, pensioner or those in desperate search of work.

Let’s make a stand together, through unity we can win!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Invest in a better fairer future

Anne Thompson
SIPTU, Belfast

SIPTU joined with thousands of other trade union members, workers and those currently struggling to get a job on the 23rd October at Belfast City Hall when the public made a clear stand against Tory government imposed cuts.

The reckless slash and burn cuts by the Tory government will not as they claim, pave the way to recovery but rather lead the way to mass immigration and increase the extreme hardship faced by working families and the most marginalised and disadvantaged in society, while their banker mates are propped up by criminally extortionate salaries, bonuses and enhanced pensions enabled by the saviour of good honest tax payers monies - our money.

An economic mess, not of our making but by the champagne supping 'economists', yet we are being asked to pay for it?

What we need is investment, a commitment to protecting and creating jobs, and only through that can we begin to build stability and work our way back to prosperity.

We need a knowledge economy, yet we are not providing the incentives to our brightest, most talented young people to stay and work here.

The millionaire cabinet are denying a generation the opportunity to live and work here, by laying waste to our economy.

The 23rd of October was a clear signal that there are thousands upon thousands of mobilised people who are not willing to accept these cuts, and will resist and oppose the reckless assault on our jobs and economy by a millionaires cabinet acting like a bunch of absentee landlords.

Play your part in facing down and defeating these cuts, join a trade union, attend future trade union rallies, and lobby your political representatives to make a clear stand against these cuts.

There is an alternative to cuts, we can build a better and fairer future through investment.