November 2016        

Build workers’ resistance

Joint campaign to protect tenants from unfair rent increases and evictions

In response to the increasing rent crisis, the people-powered campaigning organisation Uplift has joined with the Communications Workers’ Union, Impact, Mandate, SIPTU and Unite to launch the Secure Rents Campaign.
     Uplift and the unions are also launching a petition that calls on the minister for housing, Simon Coveney, to regulate increases by linking rents to the consumer price index, to revoke the right of landlords to evict tenants for the purpose of sale, and to move from existing four-year leases to indefinite lease terms.
     Speaking at the launch of the campaign, the general secretary of Mandate, John Douglas, said: “The free-market approach to housing and accommodation by successive governments has led directly to the crisis we’re seeing in housing and in the wider economy. It has also exacerbated poverty and deprivation levels. If a low-paid worker is spending up to 60 per cent of their income on putting a roof over their head, it means they won’t have enough to spend on clothing, food, or other necessities.”

“Tell Eir to care: End agency exploitation”

The CWU has launched its “Tell Eir to care: End agency exploitation” petition, which is being circulated to all Meteor and eMobile shops. This petition is a great opportunity for Brompton and Meteor workers to show their support for the campaign, which has already chalked up its first win. Brompton employees will now be paid sickness pay, and thousands of euros have already been paid to workers who were not given sickness pay.
     Everyone working in the shops should support the petition, to show Eir that the union is united and determined to win on the other issues: maternity pay, job security, pensions, and staff phones.

Government must make a commitment to public transport

Representatives of Unite have appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport to make a submission on the “Vision for Public Transport and State Subvention.”
     Speaking after the meeting, the union’s regional officer, Willie Quigley, stressed the need for increased Government support for public transport. “The fact that agreement has now been reached following the recent Dublin Bus dispute should not blind the Government to the difficulties that remain in Bus Éireann and Irish Rail. These issues will only be resolved by the Government committing itself to a modern, fully subsidised public transport system in the interests of the travelling public, workers, and the wider economy.”
     Unite’s research officer, Michael Taft, added: “When compared with other European countries, Ireland devotes relatively low levels of subvention support to public transport, resulting in poorer services and higher fares. We need a new vision for public transport, and this will require appropriate investment and subventions.”

SIPTU condemns treatment of community workers

SIPTU has condemned the treatment by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht of workers at the West Cork Development Partnership who lost their jobs on Friday 28 October without receiving their agreed redundancy entitlements.
     SIPTU’s sector organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “The six workers being made redundant today have given a combined total of over a hundred years’ service delivering the Leader programme in west Cork on behalf of the state. They are now losing their jobs without receiving their full legal entitlements from the very government department to which they were answerable for the administration of the programme.
     “This is a completely unacceptable way in which to treat workers who have served their community loyally. However, it is unfortunately just another example of how local development workers have been treated by the department across the country.
     “WCDP was assured on several occasions by department officials that its funding would not be ‘cut off’ in a manner which left these workers without their entitlements, but that is exactly what has happened.”

     He added: “The effect of this move is that these workers will not receive their outstanding holiday pay or minimum notice and will only receive statutory redundancy for their time spent delivering the Leader programme. They will not receive a payment in accordance with the terms of the enhanced redundancy package recommended by the Labour Court in November 2015 for all local development company workers who become unemployed due to changes in Leader programme funding.
     “It is gross hypocrisy that Government ministers demand that union members should adhere to Labour Court decisions when in this case the minister, Heather Humphreys, is just ignoring a recommendation of that body. We are calling on the minister and her officials to respect the Labour Court and ensure that these workers receive their legal entitlements.”

Bombardier confirms a thousand job losses

The management of the Bombardier Aerospace plant in Belfast has confirmed that the loss of 1,080 jobs planned to take place over the next two years will be implemented this year. Two hundred more workers will be made redundant in the coming months.
     This is a result of the company’s corporate management deciding to seek an additional 7,500 job losses globally.
     Bombardier is a massive business that started in the town of Valcourt, Québec. It is now a global corporation involved in air, rail and other forms of transport. Over the years it has received direct subsidies of $2¼ billion from the Canadian government, and is soon to get a billion dollars more. The Canadian minister of innovation, Navdeep Bains, said: “It’s not a matter of if we want to invest, it’s how we make that investment.”
     These subsidies go to a company that showed an income of $3.9 billion for the first quarter of 2016. The chairman of the board, Pierre Beaudoin, received $3.8 million while the president and CEO, Alain Bellmare, received $6.4 million.

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