Workplace

Striking Bus Drivers or Climate Warriors? Notes on Ireland’s Eco-Transport Struggles

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Could climate change become a catalysing force for radical social transformation in Ireland? Recent struggles around public transport in Ireland prompted me to think along these lines. Last weekend, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann workers went on strike over plans by the National Transport Authority to tender out 10% of public routes to private operators. A few days earlier, SIPTU’s banner at Liberty Hall had been unfurled to state: ‘Say No to Privatisation; privatisation results in fare increase, reduced services, a threat to free travel, a bad deal for taxpayers and job cuts’. SIPTU and NBRU members and strike organisers have emphasised the damage privatisation will do to society, primarily concentrating on the loss of community services and the race to the bottom in bus drivers’ terms and conditions [1]. The striking workers deserve our support and their claims should be taken seriously. This is definitely the case when the regime media adhere to a deeply unimaginative line, loudly declaiming traffic disruption to an imagined city of angry consumers and silently accepting the hollowing out of public services [2]. At the same time, however, we also need to think about what’s not being said, about the words that don’t make it on to the papers or the banner.
 

McDonalds Workers in New Zealand Win May Day Victory Over Zero Hours Contracts

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Congratulations to workers at McDonalds and their union, Unite in New Zealand/Aotearoa who have won their battle with the employer and ended zero hour contracts at the fast food giant!

The workers were due to strike today 1st of May, but McDonalds backed down at the last minute. From 1 October 2015, all McDonald's employees will be offered 80 per cent security of hours, up to a 32 hour weekly cap, based on the average of the previous fixed quarterly worked hours.

 

Grangegorman Squatter on Why Dunnes Strike Should Be Supported

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One of the tricks of the media & politicians is to try and create conflict between protesters. So for instance in coverage of the Grangegorman eviction resistance you'll see the suggestion that squatters don't work while many workers can't afford rent.

Workers self management at occupied Greek Radio-Television (ERT)

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The capitalist crisis saw the closure of Greek Radio-Television (ERT) but workers not only resisted they took ERT into collective self management and continued broadcasting. 21 months after its closure the striking workers still ran 17 radio stations (15 regional, two national) and a single TV channel (ET3).

The translation of the texts below has been sent to us by Thanasis, a worker at the ERT and outline how the workers restructured ERT and what they want Syriza to respect if funding is returned.

Thanasis writes " Actually, and in simple words, they fired us but we never left the building and of course we never took an  advance to earn money (publicity etc) respecting the fact that all these buldings and technical stuff belong to the Greek people.  The new government after having recognized our struggle decided to re-open the Public Radio-television. Lets hope they will also incorporate our ideas, those we fought for over the last 2 years. What you will read is not a dream. Is what we already do everyday and we simply propose it for the future. "

March 13th: Unions Strike Across North of Ireland, but One Day isn't Enough

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On the 13th of March, unions across the north of Ireland will be striking against another round of service cuts and job loss proposals including the introduction of prescription charges.

The Minister for Health would like to introduce prescription charges across the 6 Counties. The DUP’s Jim Wells claims that this is to be done in order to provide a “cash injection” to his department to create a specialist drug fund which would pay for drugs that are either too expensive or too specific to be licensed right now. In doing so he is proposing £3 per item and hopes to raise between £5m and £10m per year claiming that this is not “unreasonable”. But it is unreasonable; the rich should be taxed for this.

Paris Bakery and EF Language School Workers Speak Out

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One of the key principles underpinning anarchist politics and philosophy is that of self-organisation.  And one of the key principles underpinning self-organisation is the belief that it is by doing that people learn.

 

Very few people come to radical politics through what they read or through ‘education’ in the traditional sense.  It is usually through becoming involved in a struggle that directly affects themselves and their neighbours/work colleagues that most people come to see the power structures of society and begin a process of analysis of how society operates and how it needs to change if the needs of ordinary people are to be met.

 

Jack O’Connor has no mandate for surrendering on water charges

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Well over 100,000 people are expected to take part in over 90 anti water charge protests across the country tomorrow (Nov 1st).

But instead of throwing the weight of the country’s largest trade union behind the protests, SIPTU’s general president Jack O’Connor has this morning in the words of the headlined report on Newstalk’s facebook page been “waving the white flag”.

The Minister, Sex Work and Asylum Seekers in direct provision centres in Ireland

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Minister Frances Fitzgerald claimed to be shocked at reports that some women in direct provision centres felt compelled into sex work by the poverty they are kept in. How can that be, it's Minister Frances Fitzgerald who actually operates this direct provision system that creates such circumstances.

As the Minister she does not allow asylum seekers to work, leaving them to exist on €19.10 per week, often for periods measured in years. Who can imagine living month after month with such a minuscule amount of spending money? And while she now wants to suggest she has concern for such women the reality is that she is the one who signs deportation orders, orders which will very often send the same women to very much more difficult circumstances.

Bullshit to truth - Greyhound's email to customers deciphered

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Following a succesful day of community action, blockading scab labour operated refuse trucks, in support of locked out Greyhound waste workers, the company sent a hilariously whiny email to customers. In the communication they blamed "certain political organisations" for orchestrating the blockade on social media and claimed the actions put the strike-breakers' health and safety under threat.

It's all the more bizarre given the fact that outrageous violations of health and safety have been logged by scab crews, who have been working outside of the allowable refuse collection times. 

Paris Bakery workers declare partial victory as revenue steps in

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Paris Bakery workers ended their sit-in on its 19th day following official confirmation from Revenue that the company will be wound up. This means that the workers can be paid through accessing the Insolvency Fund. The law must be changed to ensure no other group of workers have to go through this to get paid the money they are owed. It's up to all of us through our unions to keep the pressure on for legislative change.

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