Date Released: 29 April 2013
Speaking in advance of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) May Day demonstration scheduled for Wednesday, 1st May 1st, starting at 7.00 p.m. in Parnell Square, trade union leaders expressed their support for the event.
Irish Congress of Trade Unions president Eugene McGlone said: “Sometimes, because of the various demands of life and the pressures, especially in times of enforced austerity, we overlook the need to celebrate the achievements of organised workers. Sometimes it difficult to see what has been achieved. Even in today's climate we still manage to achieve progress for our class. The recent European Court of Justice ruling on the Waterford Crystal pension case should give all workers an appreciation that success can be achieved. It is therefore important, particularly on the centenary of the 1913 Lock-Out, that workers support the demonstration organised by the DCTU on May Day, and keep faith and continuity with all who have served in the struggle for workers’ rights”, Mr McGlone said.
SIPTU President Jack O’Connor said: “It is important that Irish workers demonstrate their continued opposition to the current one sided austerity policies which even their own architects have admitted have done nothing but harm to our economy and across Europe. May Day represents the struggle of workers across the globe for better pay and conditions of work. In this centenary year of the Dublin Lockout we must show that the principles of solidarity and quality remain at the heart of the Irish trade union and labour movement”, Mr O’Connor said.
INTO General Secretary Sheila Nunan said: “A century ago the trade union movement mobilised to demand union recognition to challenge extreme social and employment conditions. Today, a new generation of workers faced with different but no less challenging issues needs to find 21st century solutions to social, employment, financial and equality challenges. The centenary of 1913 provides an opportunity for workers everywhere to draw on a proud heritage in the search for solutions to the challenges of today”.
UNITE Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said: “May Day is celebrated by the labour movement around the world on each May 1st. It is a demonstration of solidarity. This May Day, we will be remembering the struggles of workers during the 1913 Lockout, and thinking about current struggles. One such struggle ended in victory last Thursday. The Waterford Crystal pensions case illustrates how important the trade union movement is: membership of a trade union is the only means for workers to fight for justice in court cases which cost huge amounts of money. But even as we celebrate that victory, we are thinking of the workers who lost their lives last week when a building housing garment factories in Bangladesh collapsed. They died after garment manufacturers reportedly rejected safety plans drawn up by Bangladeshi and international trade unions because they were too costly. This May Day is an opportunity not only to remember our own history, but to express our solidarity with all workers, everywhere”, Mr Kelly said.
MANDATE General Secretary John Douglas said: “Be in no doubt that the war which begun in 1913 still rages today, maybe not in the form of baton charges on O'Connell Street, but behind the closed doors of government, the legal system and the intimidation of workers by well resourced employers and consultants. One hundred years on we are still fighting for the right for workers to be fully represented by unions and the employers are just as vicious and hostile as they were 100 years ago. Over 400,000 unemployed workers in 2013 are locked out of the economy and locked out of providing a decent income for their families because of the reckless actions of a golden circle of senior bankers, speculators and politicians. The income of those in employment is being robbed to pay banking debts which are not theirs and social services are being curtailed to the most vulnerable in our society. The only credible red line against these actions is organised labour and social solidarity. Get onto the streets on May Day 2013 and support the fight back”, John Douglas said.