Tag Archives: trade unionism

ICTU Women’s Seminar 2015

ICTU Women’s Committee hold a seminar and conference on alternate ears. As last years conference was in Wexford it was the turn of the NI members to host this years Seminar.

It was two days, not of motions but of workshops and keynote addresses, an attempt to empower, inform and entertain delegates. As with previous years PSEU had a strong delegation in attendance.

After being welcomed by both the Joint Chairs and Belfast Trades Council who reminded us once more “Let us be the change we want to be in the world”, In fact Kerry Fleck from the trades Council went on to speak eloquently and passionately on the effects of austerity on Workin class women and how there are now a plethora of active women’s groups in Belfast. Kerry reminded us of the change in discourse of groups like the IMF who are calling for an increase in the minimum wage and that inequality is the achilles heel of neoliberalism.

Ethel Buckley from SIPTU spoke of the Ethical Work Initiative and of the involvement of President Michael D Higgins in pushing this valuable campaign. #ethicswork is their hashtag
David Begg then gave what is his last official speech as general Secretary of Congress befor Patrica King takes over on International Womens Day this weekend. David spoke of the “widening gap between rich and poor which may threaten economic and political stability….and so it should” He pointed to the Nordic countries as the most economically and social cohesive models and said that “our mission is to project ideas for a different, better, fairer, society.” On international Womens Day this year there will be women leaders of ICTU, TUC, ITUC and ETUC which is a great achievement for the movement.

ICTU President John Douglas reiterated this theme, these are the most challenging times in our history and welcomed the fact that Patricia King is taking over – “Patricia is the best trade unionist on the isand of Ireland” John opined.

Zuzanna Muskat-Gorsta from the ITUC spoke eloquently in her non-native tongue on Gender Equality. “From Poland it is deeply risky to say, ‘I’m a feminist”.. Zuzanna echoed Naomi Klein’s recent thoughts that climate change is strongly linked to Global Inequality and that Green Jobs is the way forward. We also heard how that Gender Based Violence is increasing and amongst that Forced Labour and human trafficking in a violent act.

The seminar split into workshops and the perception of women in Public Life heard of groups in both North and South that are sing education to help equalise the balance of gender participation in Political Life. Some startling figures came out. 16% of dail seats are held by women – an all time high! and 96th in world ranking. 0% of Senior Judges in Northern Ireland are female.
Belfast Lord Mayor then spoke of the way she never though of gender until becoming Lord Mayor and how suddenly her clothes seemed as important to print media as her actions. The office run Lord Mayor for a Day internships and Joanna gave an inspirational speech on disability and her hopes for the future.

Caroline McGuigan of Suicide or Survive gave the keynote address for the afternoon. This shows how the Seminar is different from so many. Suicide and mental health is a strong concern for society and obvioulsly then for trade unionists. We all konw people looking for help and were reminded that we need to listen to people because they are experts. http://www.yourmentalhealth.ie is there to assist people. Voices from the floor said how people are flat in the workplace, austerity has beaten them down. We have to try and assist in whatever way we can.

The day finished with a screening of Inez: A Challenging Woman – this documentary gave a short insight into the work and battles of human rights activist and trade unionist, Inez McCormack, ICTU’s first Woman President and trailblazer for many. It is a sad yet inspirational tale as, like so many other tributes, we wait for the people to pass away before celebraitng their life. The respect for Inez amongst people at the Seminar is palpable and it was a great way to celebrate her achievements.

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Day 2 had less time allocated but was no less informative. Annie Campbell from Womens Aid NI detailed awful statistics around Gender Based Violence. According to PSNI stats there’s 1 doemstic abuse incident every 19minutes with 1 domestic abuse crime every 41. IN the time it took me to write this there were 2 incidents and 1 crime. 2.5 times more domestic abuse than burgalry with over 95%directed at women. Austerity is bringing challenges as it can lead to unsustainability.
It’s hard when this is just a topic at a conference attended by hundreds of union activists to understand the severity if this issue but with these stats you can be sure there are victims and perpetrators as members of all unions in attendance. Awful.

The final piece before the wrap up which was given by PSEU’s Melissa Brennan was a panel discussion with guests from cosc, womens aid, white ribbon campaign, cpsu and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. There was a varied discussion on violence perpetrated by men and howmen avoid vulnerability. Most comments from the floor related to the proposed upcoming visit to Ireland by Juien BBlanc. Blanc has been denied access to the UK and Singapore. He was deported from Australis and is planning on speaking at a €2,000 per ticket event in Dublin in June. He is a self proclaimed ” leading international coach in dating ” and all impressions are that he condones violence. His social media diatribe is insulting and if he does make it to the country you can be sure there will be a strong presence outside the event.
http://www.dailyedge.ie/julien-blanc-barred-from-uk-1788904-Nov2014/

http://www.ictu.ie

niallhope

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Hope Show 28 – the lowdown

http://radioactiveinternational.org/hope-show-28/

1. Deathfix – Playboy
2. Wugazi – Killa Hill
3. Sage Francis – Jah Didn’t Kill Johnny
4. A Death In The Family – SOmethings Out of Tune
5. Pilger – Disatisfied
6. Against ME – Slurring the Rhythms
7. Shorebirds – Upside Down
8. Bedford Fall – Whos Coat is that Jacket?
9. Dillinger Four – Fired Side Chat
10. Buzzcocks – Promises
11. Andy Moor – Alex
12. Heathers – Whats Your Damage
13. Billy Bragg – There Is Power iN A Union
14. Shadowy Men On Shadowy Planet – (Relax) You will think You are a chicken
15. Atom ANd His Package – Thresholds to Adult Living
16. restarts – Frustration
17. Paranoid Visions – Poles Apart
18. Holy Rollers – Ride My Sky
19. Seein’ Red – I hate You
20. The Redneck Manifesto – Smile More
21. Hard Skin – That’s Bollocks Mate

I will be honest I am only listening to Deathfix because they are on Dischord and feature Brendan Canty on drums. I am glad I’ve come across them as their new self tiled album is a joy to listen to, not my usual punk rock fix and more in line with Medications than Rites of Spring but joyful in these not so joyful times. Wugazi is what the kids call a mash up. Wu Tang Clan and Fugazi – Killa Hill is some such mash up

I first heard of Sage Francis when my friend John introduced him to me by advising me to go and see him in Whelans. Hip hop and vegetarian and a fan of Johnny Cash, what’s not to like? Johnny cash dying was a bit like a Death In The Family. I never knew him, didn’t listen to him that much but like Joe Strummer he seemed on our side. I could be wrong, I hope I’m not. Somethings Out of Tune is from their This Microscopic War album which is worth 45 minutes of your long life.

Pilger are from Southampton and 2 of them are in the Shorts. I got the Shorts 7″ during the week but couldn’t get it digital in time for the show so I’ve gone with a dedication to them with disatisfied by Pilger.

I will never forget the first time I saw Against Me live. It was such an uplifting experience. We roared together and were ready to take on the world. Thankfully I didn’t jump on their train as it crashed along the way (with their New Wave album, I would suggest) but As the Eternal Cowboy is and always will be a classic album and a sign of how we can change the world.

Shorebirds have people who used to be in Latterman and Jawbreaker. That’s a recommendation in itself. The album It’s Gonna Get Ugly is worth a show in itself so for tonight I went with Upside Down. It’s on the excellent Yo-Yo records. Bedford Falls have a slight Jawbreaker Feel but more
replacements to be honest. They’ve 2 albums and this is from their Savings And Loan album on Boss Tuneage . I hope to be interviewing Aston who runs this label in a couple of weeks.
Dillinger Four are always worth a listen – anthemic punk rock. Situationist Comedy is one of their best albums and fired-Side Chat doesn’t disappoint.

I attended ICTU BDC this week in Belfast and was reminded of this Buzzcocks song. Promises is dedicated to the trade union movement.

We shouldn’t loose the faith however and Andy Moor from the EX and Dog Faced
Hermans brings me back. This is from his Marker album which his solely Andy and his guitar. Two people who play guitar and sing are Heathers from Dublin. They seem to be everywhere in Ireland since their song was used in a Bord Failte ad but What’s Your Damage is a reminder of how good that debut album Here, Not There really was.

Billy Bragg reminds me again no to loose the faith and tells us all there is power in a union. I went to Canada years ago and discovered Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet. Surf Music they call it. Has me surfing in my chair. Atom and His Package has that surfy breezy feel with songs that mean something without you even knowing it. Restarts are always singing about something – frustration sums up my week. Holy Rollers were amazing when they played Barnstormers in Dublin in the early 90’s. I was going through some of my vinyl yesterday and they kept appearing. This is Ride My sky from their self-titled album.
Seein Red are the second band of the show from the Netherlands and I hate you is dedicated to FEMPI legislation which means all public servants in Ireland must know work longer days from July 1.

The Redneck Manifesto remind me to Smile More and you can’t but smile listening to them or Hard Skin who are ending off tonights show. Thanks for listening and all that. Keep on Keeping On

niall hope

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