19 October 2006 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

BY Justin Moran

Sinn Féin supports SIPTU's Aer Lingus protest

Sinn Féin representatives joined Aer Lingus workers and union activists outside Leinster House on Wednesday morning in a picket against the part-privatisation of the airline and the prospect of a Ryanair takeover. It followed a picket of the Taoiseach's constituency office by SIPTU activists on Tuesday evening

O'Toole backs striking building workers

Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Larry O'Toole has expressed support for striking workers at Grove Lane, near the Clare Hall Shopping Centre.

The strike, ongoing since 1 September, is in protest at what workers say have been several attempts to bypass previously-agreed conditions of employment with P. Elliott, the on-site developers.

Workers on the picket, as well as Building and Allied Trades' Union (BATU) Assistant General Secretary Brendan O'Sullivan, said that P. Elliott had on three separate occasions attempted to bring a High Court injunction declaring the picket illegal, but failed on each occasion before Mr Justice Frank Clarke.

"I stand fully in support of these men and their families as they struggle to achieve industry-agreed terms and conditions of employment," said Councillor O'Toole, the Sinn Féin general election candidate in Dublin North East.

"The developers are currently exploiting Eastern European workers at €8 per hour and have used the vulnerability of these workers to erode the terms of employment of Irish workers. The only people profiting from this are greedy developers and it is to the credit of these men that they realise this. I am calling on other politicians to join with me in support of the just demands of these workers."

Nurses rally again for 35-hour week

The Irish Nurses Organisation (INO) and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) have announced another pay rally, even larger than that held last June.

The pay rallies are part of the joint union campaign to achieve a 35-hour week for nurses and midwives and to eliminate an anomaly that sees childcare workers - both qualified and unqualified - paid more than nurses and midwives for the first 21 years of their career.

The latest rally was called by the executives of both unions as a reaction to the inability of the Labour Court to issue its recommendations, four and a half months after the hearing, because of the abject failure of health employers to meaningfully engage with the Court.

The INO/PNA are determined that nurses and midwives will achieve a reduction in their working week, bringing them in line with all other professionals working in the Irish health service. Both unions have noted that the Labour Court, as far back as 1980, has recommended that they should get priority attention in this regard.The attitude of nurses and midwives has hardened still further in recent weeks due to the failure of the HSE to implement over 20 agreements reached via negotiations and third party recommendations.

The INO/PNA rally is scheduled for Wednesday, 22 November 2006, at the Helix in Dublin City University, commencing at 11.30am. It will not involve a work stoppage but both unions expect a large turnout of members.

Lecturers keep up pressure

Last Tuesday, for the fourth time in recent weeks, teaching at the 16 further education colleges in the Six Counties ground to a halt as lecturers supported their union's call for strike action. Lecturers also picketed the headquarters of the Department for Employment and Learning in Belfast.

The University and College Union (UCU) called the action in another step in the lecturers' long running campaign for pay parity with schoolteachers. The strike is in addition to a widespread work-to-rule and withdrawal of goodwill across the colleges.

While college employers have agreed that lecturers should have pay parity with schoolteachers, and both sides have agreed a mechanism for implementation with backdating to 1 September 2005, employers say that they need government approval to implement the package.


An Phoblacht
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