Moments of crisis: Aer Lingus seeks millions from SIPTU over strike threat
Sam Nolan, veteran socialist and trade unionist and long-standing Secretary of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions has post this personal message on Facebook today (14th March). https://www.facebook.com/sam.nolan.391 I have commented on it below.
“Moments of crisis happen at certain stages of history. Such a moment is now upon the trade union movement. The threatened move by AER LINGUS to sue SIPTU for financial damages for a strike that did not take place is such a moment. This move is a threat to the future activity of every trade union in the country. There must be a sharp militant response from CONGRESS affiliated unions as well as a legal challenge. Labour in government must decide which class it represents.”
There has been surprising little reaction from the unions, the left and even the blogosphere (or my sector of it) to the announcement that Aer Lingus was suing SIPTU over a strike that did not take place. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/aer-lingus-seeks-millions-from-siptu-over-strike-threat-1.1725298
The action by Aer Lingus, for damages, breach of contract and, in at least one report I heard, conspiracy, has all the marks of the pre-1906 open season on trade unions. As the day wore on the need for someone authoritative in the labour movement to take a stand and make a clarion call was ever more pressing. It is no accident that it is Sam Nolan that has stepped forward and it is fitting and fortunate that it is he who has. Not only has he stood in the front line for decades but he has the respect and authority in the trade union movement to be taken seriously and to be heeded and followed.
When Sam Nolan says it – “Moments of crisis happen at certain stages of history. Such a moment is now upon the trade union movement” – you know it is not stock left rhetoric. It is not some hamburger merchant that is suing, it is the national airline, backed by the airport authority and also by the biggest anti-union outfit on the continent, the William Martin Murphy of 2014.
It is time for SIPTU and ICTU to fight before there is nothing left to fight for – or fight with. And fight with street mobilisation and industrial action, not just in the courts or with press statements which omit that the Labour Party is in government and, in this case, that the government is on the board of the union-busting company. I hope unions, union committees and Branch and Sector Committees can take up his call without delay and that, if there is a delay, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions can repeat its recurrent role of being the focus and the catalyst on crises facing the labour movement.
Interesting new blog, Comradezhenka, featuring personal opinions on the socialist left in Ireland from Lenin’s dog
Let us see if the account of Brendan Hughes can be corroborated.
Originally posted on The Broken Elbow:
Today myself and Anthony McIntyre are extending an invitation to members of Jean McConville’s family to join with us in lodging a Freedom of Information request at the British government’s archives at Kew in Surrey to obtain the release of the war diaries of the First Gloucestershire Regiment, which served in Divis Flats at the time, in early 1972, that Jean McConville allegedly came under IRA suspicion as an informer for the military.
The First Gloucesters, one of the oldest and most battle hardened regiments in the British Army, was the only one of the nine regiments to have served in the Divis district of West Belfast during the early 1970’s whose war diaries have been embargoed and closed to the public, in that regiment’s case…
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Restrictions in Protection of Life Bill demeaning to women – Social Affairs & News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times -…
This is a brilliant article on Ireland’s Abortion Vatiban.
The English Solution to an Irish Problem; Martyn Turner, the Irish Times Cartoonist, Tells it As It Is
“CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS in the UK have released statistics this morning on the number of terminations that were carried out in England and Wales last year, highlighting the incidence of women travelling from Ireland to avail of abortion services.
A total of 3,982 women gave addresses in the Republic of Ireland when attending clinics and hospitals during 2012. That made up the 68 per cent of the 5,850 abortions provided to women resident outside both countries. Women from Northern Ireland made up another 15 per cent of the figure.” The new restrictive X Case Law, which the Labour Party and Fine Gael ensured was carried by the Dáil last night, will not change this situation. Pro-Choice TD’s put down several amendments which were rejected; the defeated pro-choice amendments included a provision to allow women with fatal foetal abnormalities access to an abortion in Ireland. Another Savita Halappanavar type case is inevitable, sooner or later. http://www.thejournal.ie/at-least-21-women-from-every-county-in-ireland-had-an-abortion-in-the-uk-last-year-988359-Jul2013/
National Women’s Council of Ireland Director Orla O’Connor makes the current situation clear :
“Over 17,000 men and women wrote 77,428 emails to their TDs and Senators over the last few months to call for legislation to give full effect to the X case as part of NWCI’s campaign. This is evidence of the high level of public support throughout Ireland for access to safe and legal abortion in life threatening cases, including risk of suicide.”
“Yet what people were calling for has not been delivered in this Bill. Abortion remains a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison and onerous and inaccessible procedures for women dominate the Bill. We urge the Government, as the Bill goes through its final stages, to take on board our proposed amendments so we have legislation that is fair, just and workable for women in Ireland.”
“It is also critically important for us to acknowledge that with the passing of this legislation Ireland will continue to have one of the most restrictive abortion regimes globally. It will provide no solution to women who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities or where there is a risk to the health of the woman. Women in crisis pregnancies, over 4,000 every year, will still be forced to travel abroad for abortions. Women in Ireland must be in a position to make personal decisions about their own bodies and health care free from coercion, discrimination and the threat of incarceration. http://www.nwci.ie/news/2013/07/10/vote-on-abortion-legislation-a-historic-moment-for/
Here is Deirdre Conroy’s Account of the shameful Dáil Debate on foetal abnormality :
Minister’s contribution to debate on foetal abnormality was disrespectful to women
87 % are in favour of medical intervention for this condition http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/minister-s-contribution-to-debate-on-foetal-abnormality-was-disrespectful-to-women-1.1460755?page=1
Let’s Be Honest – unfortunately the boycott of the LPT is defeated.
Originally posted on The Cedar Lounge Revolution:
Some time soon, perhaps, it will be time to have an analysis on why the property tax campaign ran into the ground, but that’s another day’s work.
I’ve already mentioned how I think that there is a need for the campaign against the property tax to make some effort to communicate with those who may have taken its advice to heart and not registered. Granted there’s a grace period where the sanctions from Revenue won’t kick in, including reminder letters and warnings, but even so. There may be a cohort, not a very large one – or so it would appear – but one nonetheless who have decided to sit it out. And I say all this as one not merely sympathetic to the campaign, even if critical of aspects of it, but also fairly heavily involved in a specific part of it.
Even so, things move on. The compliance…
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Against Hitler (if nothing else): the curious anti-fascism of Alan Shatter and Fine Gael | Cunning Hired Knaves
A very useful history lesson for Irish Justice & Defence Minister Alan Shatter; regrettably Fine Gael was not the only political or social organization in 1930′s Ireland that endorsed continental European fascism.
The leader of backward Irish Vatiban (Fine Gael) defends women-hating laws; pregnant women beware!
Deputy Kenny is out of step with popular opinion :
What is in the new government bill on abortion? Will it make the current position better or worse?
In 2012 Clare Daly proposed a bill in Dáil Éireann to implement the Supreme Court X Case Judgment of 1992 – later endorsed in two referendums held in 1992 and 2002 – which would have legalised Abortion in Ireland in very limited circumstances.
Now the government has come forward with a new bill – following mass outrage at the death in a Galway hospital of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied an abortion which would probably have saved her life.
The government is also under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights after the A, B, and C cases; the court instructed the Dublin government to legislate on abortion.
It is necessary, at this early stage, to carefully look at the contents of the government bill, and propose alternatives which will take forward the pro-choice cause in Ireland.
The statement below, issued by pro-choice TD’s Clare Daly and Joan Collins, is a contribution to this effort.
Clare Daly TD, Joan Collins TD
Statement – May1, 2013 – immediate release
Needs of despairing women ignored – lives will be put at risk
Expert Group recommendations ignored
Commenting on the government’s draft bill on abortion, Clare Daly TD and Joan Collins TD called for changes to deal with shortcomings in the Bill:
Clare Daly said:
“Today, May Day, when women have fought for their rights as workers, we are still fighting for our rights as women. I welcome the publication of the government’s proposals for minimal legislation on abortion, but it contains restrictions that will continue to put women’s lives at risk.
There are neither medical nor social grounds for requiring the approval of three consultants to agree to abortion for a despairing woman, driven towards suicide because of unwanted pregnancy. A psychiatric emergency is no different to a medical emergency and is treated as such by clinicians. If one of the government’s panel of three says ‘no’, it is up to the woman to push for an appeal to another three. Most women would give up at the possibility of a second refusal and be driven further into despair, or forced overseas – if they can afford it. This must change: no more than two medical practitioners should be required to approve abortion for suicidal women.
Women who cannot face these obstacles, and induce abortion themselves, are threatened with 14 years in prison. They would be branded as criminals if they obtain abortions in Ireland – yet the government is happy to see it done in Liverpool. The ‘chilling factor’ of criminalisation referred to by the European Court of Human Rights has been transferred from doctors to women. This hypocrisy must end: abortion must be decriminalised.”
Joan Collins said:
“The government has ignored Art 6.4.1 of its own Expert Group Report, which said that two doctors was enough to make a clinical decision on the risks to a woman’s life because of physical or mental health condition. They have also ignored the views of the majority, who support legislation for the X case, and organisations including SIPTU, Unite the Union, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Union of Students in Ireland – representing hundreds of thousands of people. They have called for no more than two medical practitioners as sufficient to approve abortion.
This Bill is a political compromise with Fine Gael backbenchers and the anti-abortion minority, which will compromise women’s lives rather than meet women’s needs. It also reinforces the distinction between a woman’s life and her health and welfare – where a woman who could be permanently incapacitated by pregnancy cannot get an abortion. The 8th Amendment must be repealed and women’s health needs and choices provided for.
We will be examining this draft Bill in the coming days and will table amendments to remove the unnecessary restrictions contained in it.”