Re-Building Trade Union Activism Conference


Grassroots Shop Stewards and Union Activists Conference: Re-Building Trade Union Activism

Saturday 20th September
Venue: UNITE Hall,
Middle Abbey St, Dublin 1.


11.30 to 1pm: Pay claims, social partnership and re-building our unions

Speakers: Jimmy Kelly, Regional Secretary UNITE; Owen McCormack, Busworkers Action Group; Dick Roche TEEU National Executive


2pm - 3.30pm: Public sector cuts and outsourcing: How do we resist?

Speakers: Joe Tully, (Nurses Rep); Bernard Lynch ASTI; John Kidd SIPTU Convenor, Dublin Fire Brigade

3.30pm - Recruiting to the unions: How we organise?

Speakers: Paul Hansard, President SIPTU Construction Branch; speaker from UNITE organising unit.

All Speakers in a Personal Capacity.

Entrance Fee €5 (To cover running costs).

Why this Conference:

The trade union movement needs a radical change of direction. For twenty one years it backed social partnership deals and this has led to the weakening of the grassroots of the movement. But at the first sign of Recession, the employers' organisation, IBEC, told us that workers cannot get the wage increases we deserve. Wages had to be cut - and not profits! Those who gained most from the boom now want us to pay for the recession.

There is a real danger that employers will try to destroy hard fought-for conditions. Outsourcing and agency working have become the new weapons that are used against workers.

We have to resist.

But the present model of union organising will not serve us well for the Battles Ahead. Some of the union leaders have become too close to the Government and do not know how to Fight.

One result of the failed strategies of the past is that union density has fallen. Ten years ago, more than one in two workers was a member of a union. Today it has fallen to one in three and, amongst young workers, only one in four.

We need a return to grassroots trade union activism to tackle this.

We would, therefore, would like to invite fellow Shop Stewards and Union Activists to a national gathering to discuss a new way forward for Our Unions.

This gathering is inspired by a few simple ideas:

· That we need strong unions that can take on the employers and win real gains for workers.

· That union leaders must show leadership in this fight - and not be messengers for the government or the employers.

· That we need a strong shop steward organisation that is able to mobilise its members to take action.

· That we should be willing to use all weapons at our disposal, ranging from publicity battles to industrial action. We must do what it takes to win.

· That our unions need a strong political voice and that we cannot be tied to one political party, which jettisons our interests.

This conference will be a practical, working conference that will bring together grassroots activists from a number of unions. Our aim is to spread the power of good examples, to learn from each other and to build solidarity.

We, the undersigned, support this Grassroots Union Conference and urge you to attend.


Kieran Allen (President, Education Branch SIPTU), Paul Hansard (President Construction Branch SIPTU), Joe Moore (CWU National Executive), Des Derwin (President Engineering Branch SIPTU), Tommy Hogan (Regional Committee UNITE), Kevin McGaley (President Killarney Branch SIPTU), Doreen Fitzgerald (Shop Steward, Health Professional Branch SIPTU), Niall Smyth (Branch Secretary, Dublin City North Branch, INTO), John Kidd (SIPTU Convenor Dublin Fire Brigade), Mick Scanlon (Shop Steward Cork No 3 Branch SIPTU), Tony Greene (SIPTU Area Shop Steward, Construction Branch), Brendan Begley (Shop Steward, SIPTU Education Branch), Eugene McDonagh (NBRU Executive), Rory Coleman (Shop Steward Harristown Bus Garage), Tony Kelly (Convenor Waterford Crystal), Mary Ryan (TUI Dublin County Branch Committee Member), Alice Sheridan (PSEU Branch Committee Member), Dick Roche (TEEU Shop Steward & President of Waterford Trades Council), Breege Scanlon (Nurses Rep).

(All signatories are in a personal capacity and the descriptions are not used to indicate anything other than the signatories are Union Activists).

Please Circulate Details of this Conference to Any Email List of Trade Unionists.

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