27 April 2006 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

BY CAOILFHIONN Ní DHONNABHÁIN

US trade unionist to read Connolly while behind bars

Roger Toussaint, President of the US Transport Workers Union Local 100, has been sentenced to 10 days in prison for leading an illegal three-day December strike that crippled the city and brought massive financial penalties for the union.

Toussaint said that if allowed reading material in prison, he would be bringing the new biography of James Connolly by Donal Nevin with him. The book was given to him at the union's Mike Quill- James Connolly Day, on March 16 as "[Connolly's] followers founded our union".

Toussaint, originally from Trinidad and a former subway track worker, has expressed his hope that his time in prison will rally New Yorkers worried about keeping their pensions and health benefits and will pressure New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to adopt a contract with the union when the agency meets on Wednesday.

Vote for strike action at Irish Sugar

SIPTU, AMICUS and TEEU members in Irish Sugar voted by an overwhelming majority in favour of industrial action following the breakdown of negotiations on redundancy terms. According to SIPTU's National Industrial Secretary, Gerry McCormack ""Our fear is that management will let the clock run down, and try to force the workers into accepting an unsatisfactory agreement. So the prospect of industrial action is no idle threat."

Strikers shot and killed in Mexico

Police in Mexico shot and killed two workers, and wounded over 40 others, when authorities launched an assault to expel striking workers occupying the SICARTSA steel mill in Michoacán, Mexico on April 20. Another worker was crushed to death in the melee. Reports from the scene suggest that others may also have been killed or may die from their wounds.

Unions have demanded the resignation of the Mexican Secretary of Labor, the impeachment of President Vicente Fox Quezada, punishment of those who are guilty, and recognition of the elected leader of the mine workers union.

Workers' Memorial Day

Workers across the globe are mobilizing this Friday 28 April for International Workers' Memorial Day, an annual day of remembrance for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unhealthy by unsafe work practices. The theme for Workers' Memorial Day 2006 is the demand for a worldwide ban on the use of asbestos.

According to the ILOm, as many as 5,000 people die every day as a result of work-related accidents or illnesses while the global death toll from work-related incidents and disease is estimated at 2.2 million a year.

While events are being organised in almost 70 countries worldwide, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is not organising any specific events. This is bizarre in light of the fact that in the 26 Counties alone there was a 44% increase in work related deaths in 2005 compared to 2004.

Speaking in advance of Worker's Memorial Day, Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin said: "The objective behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to "remember the dead - fight for the living" and Sinn Féin joins in the call for a concerted effort to end preventable workplace accidents. This will be achieved by developing trade union organisation and community action, enhanced by inclusive campaigns for robust enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws and for introduction of corporate manslaughter legislation."

Dublin

May Day March

Organise Now

Protect Workers' Dignity

Join a Trade Union

Organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions

2.30pm Parnell Square

Saturday 29 April

March to meeting at Liberty Hall.


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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