12 March 2009 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
BY STEPHANIE LORD
Taxi licence report “unbelievable”, says McDonald
DUBLIN Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has described this week’s Goodbody Economic Report advising against a moratorium on granting taxi licences as “unbelievable”.
McDonald said anyone who has studied the issue but comes to the conclusion that taxi drivers’ earnings are not collapsing “is quite simply living in cloud cuckoo land”.
“Since the deregulation of taxi licences in 2000, drivers’ earnings have steadily declined while their working hours have increased. It is quite clear that deregulation has not worked and a moratorium on licenses needs to be introduced.
“The fact is that taxi drivers are struggling as a direct result of deregulation and they need the support of the Government. The Minister for Transport must issue a moratorium on licences.”
Taxi drivers’ unions met with Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey earlier this week following the publication of the report and many taxi drivers demonstrated and protested. One group, known as ‘Taxi Drivers for Change’, has called for the resignation of Taxi Regulator Kathleen Doyle.
SIPTU Taxi Branch organiser Jerry Brennan said the Goodbody recommendation not to grant a moratorium on new licences is not a surprise and said the report also failed to address the methods of issuing licences and “the health and safety problems arising from double jobbing and a lax licensing system for drivers and the travelling public alike”.
Women’s workplace rights call
EMPLOYERS have been warned by a union equality leader against targeting women workers during the current recession.
Anne Speed, head of SIPTU’s Equality and Campaigning Division, speaking at the opening of the Irish Congress of Trade Union’s Women’s Seminar in Belfast, said:
“Women in the workforce now, more than ever, should join and organise in trade unions to have their rights protected during the current economic crisis.
“The credit crunch is, without doubt, man-made but history tells us that it is women who will carry the greater share of the burden.”
Women workers are at risk of being unfairly targeted by employers when jobs are cut, Anne Speed said. Women workers have fewer personal savings than men, and lower and poorer pension provisions to withstand the impact of recession. Women workers are also more likely to hold part-time positions, be on temporary contracts and be lower-paid, with fewer resources to cushion them from the impact of unemployment than their male colleagues.
The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) also said this week that women are being forced to work shorter hours and to work to contract because of cost-saving measures.
NWCI Director Joanna McMinn said that it is happening right across the board and not just in the low-paid private sector. She called for an increase in the number of women in top decision-making positions.
Teachers vote for industrial action
SIXTY THOUSAND members of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and the Teachers Union of Ireland have voted in favour of taking industrial action – which could include a strike – as a result of the Government’s inadequate handling of the economic crisis.
The unions have said that the results of the ballot showed clearly the anger of teachers. The Irish Federation of University Teachers will begin to ballot its members on industrial action this week.
INTO General Secretary John Carr said that any action taken will be organised in consultation with the other teachers’ unions and the broader trade union movement.
Arrest of Latvian ship sought
THE International Transport Federation is bringing a case to the Dublin High Court to secure arrest of a Latvian-owned ship in Cork whose crew are claiming months of unpaid wages.
The MV Defender is berthed at Hogan Quay in Cork. The ship’s crew, believed to be mostly Ukrainian, contacted the ITF, which represents over 650 trade unions globally, saying they faced returning to the Ukraine without enough food supplies for the journey as well as unpaid wages.