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Limerick workers bring “Better in a Trade Union” campaign to Treaty City

Workers who are a part of the campaign in Limerick
Workers who are a part of the campaign in Limerick

One of the campaign’s main aims is to empower workers.

The Better in a Trade Union campaign, spearheaded by the Irish Congress Trade Unions (ICTU), has officially been launched in Limerick. The initiative hopes to promote the advantages that trade unions offer to individuals and workplaces across Ireland.

Dan O’Neill, spokesperson for the Better in a Trade Union campaign in Limerick, stressed the profound impact of jobs on various aspects of our lives, from financial stability to daily routines. He underscored the role of trade unions in maintaining a healthy work-life balance by advocating for favourable conditions, benefits, and equitable wages.

Reflecting on Limerick’s rich history within the trade union movement, O’Neill said: “Limerick is steeped in tales of trade unionism spanning generations. From the landmark Limerick General Strike of April 1919, where workers took charge of city affairs and even minted their own currency, to the present day, solidarity and advocacy have been hallmarks of Limerick’s working communities.”

O’Neill continued, citing landmarks like the Pork Butcher’s Memorial and the Shannon-side dockers statue as poignant reminders of workers’ contributions to the city and community. He added: “In the early 20th Century, James Connolly’s renowned Irish Transport and General Workers Union had branches across every corner of County Limerick. Even Blindboy Boatclub’s father served as a union representative at Shannon Airport. We are a county proud of its trade union heritage!”

Highlighting academic backing for the trade union movement, O’Neill noted: “Some of the foremost experts in Industrial Relations are based at the Kemmy School of Business in our city’s University. Additionally, SIPTU College and ICTU offer a Trade Union Studies night course in collaboration with the National College of Ireland.”

O’Neill believes trade unions play a pivotal role in enhancing workplace conditions, stating: “Membership in a trade union bolsters your bargaining power with employers on crucial matters such as working hours, wages, and conditions. This collective bargaining fosters greater security and influence compared to individual negotiations.”

The Better in a Trade Union campaign is also supported by other influential unions like NUJ, SIPTU, Fórsa, Connect, Mandate, FSU, INTO, ASTI, CWU, IMO, and IFU.

Furthermore, the campaign stresses the broader societal impact of trade unions, with O’Neill pointing out: “Trade unions advocate for all workers, addressing issues such as the cost of living, minimum wage, and championing legislation on employment rights and leave.”

Citing a 2021 study by the Smurfit School of Business at University College Dublin, O’Neill highlighted the increasing participation of women and young workers in trade unions, particularly in industries marked by job insecurity.

He concluded by urging those interested in joining a union to seek assistance, stating: “If you’re considering joining a trade union, inform us about your job sector, and we’ll guide you to the appropriate union. For more details about our Better in a Trade Union campaign and how to participate, visit Unions.ie.”

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