Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Magherafelt Council Chairperson hosts SIPTU campaigners

The Chairperson of Magherafelt District Council, Ian Milne (Sinn Féin) has today hosted a reception to mark the centenary of the arrival of James Connolly in Belfast to organise the Trade Union movement.

Speaking at the event, SIPTU Organiser Martin O'Rourke said,

"SIPTU were delighted to attend the event to celebrate 100 years of Trade Union activism, building upon the strong foundation laid by Connolly. Many thousands of activists have worked tirelessly since then to ensure that working people receive a fair return on their labour; notwithstanding this fact the challenges which faced working people 100 years ago are equally relevant today. That is why SIPTU is engaged in an organising campaign for the community sector which has faced and is facing disproportionate cuts. It is neither right, fair nor acceptable that people who protect the most disadvantaged in our society should have their work impeded in this way."

(Magherafelt Council Chairperson Ian Milne makes presentation to Martin O'Rourke, SIPTU)

Extending a warm welcome to Martin O'Rourke and Barry McColgan who represented SIPTU, Cllr Milne said:

"The Trade Union movement has been one of the main forces that continues to work towards improving people's lives and ensuring that public services are available, while helping shape a fairer society for all.

"I take this opportunity to commend SIPTU as a campaigning and organising Trade Union committed to fairness at work and justice in society. SIPTU's campaign to enlist the support of all key stakeholders to deliver on the future survival of the Community and Voluntary sector is very important in the fight to maintain vital frontline services to the disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society.

"It is estimated that there are 30,000 people employed within the Community and Voluntary sector with a volunteer base close to 100,000. Now is the time to ensure that people are put at the heart of our economy and that our economy serves society, not the other way round.

"We need to ensure the protection of wages and income and fight against the race-to-the-bottom to improve 'competitiveness'. Workers are the heart of an economy and should be treated as such, not just as a means to a profit. We must ensure that everyone has absolute entitlement to join a trade union and collectively bargain.

"This evening's reception is a celebration of organised labour and a tribute to the thousands of activists who over the last hundred years have worked tirelessly to improve terms and conditions for working people."

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