Date Released: 22 May 2013
To mark World Cultural Diversity Day on Monday, 20th May, a new poster celebrating the diverse membership of SIPTU was launched in the Dan Shaw Centre in Navan.
At an evening event co-hosted by SIPTU Meath District Committee and the migrant rights NGO, Cultur, local politicians, including Meath East Labour TD, Dominic Hannigan, migrant workers and trade union activists spoke of the particular challenges facing the culturally diverse workforce of Meath.
Cultur Migrant Centre joint project manager, Sinead Smith, said: “Meath has a particularly diverse workforce with many migrant workers employed in local agri-food enterprises, meat processing, contract cleaning, care work and the hospitality industry. This event and poster is intended to draw attention to the need for migrant workers to have a source of reliable information on their rights and entitlements at work.”
Among the local activists at the forefront of campaigns to highlight problems of exploitation for migrant workers in the argri-food sector is Navan town councillor and President of the SIPTU Meath District Committee, Anton McCabe.
He told the meeting that “the need for solidarity has never been greater than it is now.”
Congratulating Cultur for its activity bringing people from different cultures together, he added that it was hoped the organisation’s work with SIPTU “will create awareness in our communities that being organised in your work place, or being a confidential member of a trade union will afford you protection and representation when needed.”
As part of the campaign to promote organisation among migrant workers the new colour ‘We are SIPTU’ poster features members of the union from a diversity of cultural backgrounds welcoming workers in a range of languages.
“Migrant workers are particularly open to exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Workers from all backgrounds should be aware of their rights and know that the best way to ensure they are vindicated is by joining a union,” said SIPTU Migrant Workers Committee member, Ineta Millere.
Among those listening to the addresses were several migrant workers from Meath's meat processing, food production, cleaning and care sectors.