Sunday, 20 February 2011

SATUC Videos from Unemployed debate Videos of the Debate on Weds 16th Feb 2011 in Strabane Library.

SATUC Hosted Debate
By Unemployed Union.
Chaired By Paul Gallagher (SATUC)
Michael Craig (Unemployed Union)
Eamon McCann     (People b4 Profit Alliance)
Tommy McKearney (Independent Workers Union).
February 16th, 2011.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

IRSP pledge to fight for workers' right to join a Trade Union!

Posted by IRSP at 14 February , 2011
Over the past week the IRSP, in conjunction with the Strabane Area Trades Council (SATC), have been actively promoting the benefits of trade union membership. Both the IRSP and SATC have visited the workplaces of non-unionised workers to discuss the importance of being a member of a trade union and to tackle the practice of trans-national employers who seek to disempower and exploit their workforce.
IRSP spokesperson Michael McLaughlin, who is also a member of the Unemployed Union and the SATC, said: “We want to inform the workers who are denied union membership by their employers that when an employer insists on a non-unionised workplace it is because the conditions of your job or the vast majority of your workmates do not meet the minimum standards accepted by the Trade Union Movement”
“The role of Trade Union Movement is to give workers a voice and to fight against the exploitation of people in the interests of private profit. For a safe, secure and rewarding working environment union membership is a necessity and the IRSP vow to confront the unscrupulous employers who deny these workers proper working standards and representation. Such employers should be named and shamed. In Strabane we have ‘Allstate’, an American multi-national call centre which has threatened to dismiss workers who have showed an interest in getting organized.
O’Neills sports factory which makes GAA related sports wear also refuses to allow its workers to become unionised. These are only two examples but many more exist and go unchallenged. This is something Strabane IRSP intends to challenge in the near future.”
“Figures released in the Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measures 2010 report showed that 14,394 people in Strabane were experiencing income deprivation and that 46.6% of the people of Strabane were economically inactive during this time.
Mr Mclaughlin concluded; “These figures show the true face of deprivation in Strabane and indeed a similar situation can be seen across the 6 counties. In the fight against the exploitation of working people it is of utmost importance that workers come together and organise.”

Friday, 11 February 2011

The 'Save our Libraries' campaign

Libraries are an important resource especially for the unemployed which is why we urge all unemployed people in all communities to get involved in this campaign.
Reading between the lines it would appear that Libraries N.I. have already decided to accept the closures and we believe that the so called 'consultation process' is a sham.
The fact that library employees are banned from taking part in this campaign and that posters or literature pertaining to the campaign are not allowed on or in Library premises is evidence of this. Just like public consultations on reforms in the Health Service and other public services, the views of the people will be largely ignored.

The Coalition Government at Westminster have expressed their aim to facilitate the transition of the running of some of our public services to the Voluntary Sector and charities as part of David Cameron's 'Big Society', we would urge people to think again about the possible outcomes of such a plan.
Currently the libraries are funded primarily by the State with additional revenue from small charges which the libraries make for some services such as using the internet.
If libraries were given to the Voluntary sector public funding would be phased out and members of the library would end up standing on the street corners with collection boxes. Depending on charity for funds would inevitably mean that the quality and range of services would suffer and eventually if the library was to survive it would end up in private hands. Under private ownership, and run on a profit basis, library services would be priced out of the reach of many people on low incomes, especially school students and the unemployed.
The Government's real motive is to privatise this public service just as they are doing in all of our public services, and unless we understand this and fight it, shareholders will steal the libraries from right under our noses!

Join the Independent Workers Union

When one mentions the Trade Union Movement in Ireland, the names of Jim Larkin and James Connolly are always mentioned in the same breath. Why? Because they were there at the beginning of the movement, which changed the lives of many workers and their families in Ireland for the better, when others in society cared little.Now is your opportunity to get involved in this new movement for change, and like Larkin and Connolly, form the very begining. Get involved to the degree that your ideas will actually shape this new Trade Union.
A group of Irish Trade Unionist were convinced that the Trade Union Movement in its present structure in Ireland has lost its way, and had become nothing more than an arm of the state and management. Its function has become more to control workers rather than advance their interests. People had worked for many years to attempt to reform the movement from within, and apart from some minor victories, their efforts have been continuously stifled by the powers that be within the present Trade Union hierarchy. It is now fair to conclude that the existing Trade Unions cannot be reformed for the advance of the Irish worker. Hence the formation of the I.W.U.
Karl Marx: Capital (1867) The Manufacturers
What they demand is the complete and undisguised ascendancy of the Bourgeoisie, the open, official subjection of society at large under the laws of modern, Bourgeois production, and under the rule of those men who are the directors of that production. By ‘Free Trade’ they mean the unfettered movement of capital, freed from all political, national and religious shackles. The soil is to be a marketable commodity’ and the exploitation of the soil is to be carried on according to the common commercial laws. There are to be manufacturers of food as well as manufacturers of twist and cottons, but no longer any lords of the land. There are, in short, not to be tolerated any political or social restrictions, regulations or monopolies, unless they proceed from “the eternal laws of political economy,” that is, from the conditions under which Capital produces and distributes. First published in 1867

Libraries are a very important resource for the unemployed

Save Our Libraries

Raise Your Voice in Support of Libraries

John Gray, former librarian of the Linen Hall Library, makes the case for Northern Ireland's beleaguered public libraries

Updated: 03/02/2011
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The first great world library in Alexandria in Egypt was destroyed by Roman or Muslim invaders, the Nazis systematically burnt books, and Sarajevo public library was deliberately targeted by Serbian forces for destruction during the Siege of Sarajevo – all landmarks in anti-civilisation. Things are more insidious here in Northern Ireland.
Last year ten out of 32 Belfast branch libraries closed because, in the management speak of Libraries NI, they ‘failed to match the vision requirements’. Now Stage 2 of their Strategic Review of Services rumbles on and delivers its dividend in the planned closure of ten branches elsewhere in the province. It is just another ‘opportunity’ for Meeting the Demands for a Modern Public Library Service.
Let’s be fair. There is an argument that too many branch libraries were in the wrong places and in inadequate buildings, and that closing some in order to provide fewer high quality libraries with better services offered a net gain.
That might just have been so. Unfortunately the latest news is that the capital budget for the new libraries has vanished. Meanwhile, under current cost cutting proposals those that survive face 15-20% cuts in their opening hours.
If you get to your local library in the hope of finding new books or a full range of electronic services you will increasingly have to forget it, as the book fund is cut from an already miserly £1.60 per head of the population to £1.01 in 2014-15.
Thus, even in prevailing business speak, the main library ‘product’ will progressively vanish and the ability of the service even to meet its basic statutory obligations is endangered.
So it is that Libraries NI, the new single authority for running Northern Ireland’s public libraries and for which much was once hoped (who now remembers Delivering Tomorrow’s Libraries, 2006?) is actually delivering a communal lobotomy.
Protests thus far have been muted here. There is no equivalent to the English campaign against library cuts launched in October 2010, and we do not appear to be participating in ‘Save Our Libraries Day’ on February 5.
We have no local Phillip Pullman leading our counter attack – his January speech to a gathering of Oxfordshire librarians on the English cuts was subsequently published all over the internet, causing a storm and cementing his place as leader of the intellectual rebellion.
Perhaps it is because the onslaught on English libraries has been more evidently ideological. Our cutters in Northern Ireland have been careful to avoid going too public and have not proclaimed the more obvious Big Society absurdities and suggestions that libraries can actually be run by volunteers, charities, or privatised. Instead they will just close or be left impoverished.
We do have our own version of the Big Society in which all four major parties are represented on the Libraries NI Board and are quietly complicit in managing cultural disembowelment. Mrs Thatcher’s old mantra, ‘There is no alternative’, rises from the grave to haunt us!
In the case of libraries it may be a failure of ignorance as much as malice. Our politicians were never ‘great readers’, and why would you put a library before, say, a hospital bed, even if the community is left brain dead? 

That is perhaps unfair to our minister for culture, arts and leisure, Nelson McCausland, who is himself a library user, but he runs DCAL, the smallest government department, where arts and culture generally are left at the end of the feeding chain.
Librarians themselves have been too self-effacing for too long. A silent service is hardly best equipped to fight its corner in bad times. There was always too much focus on merely safely managing the assets while failing to proclaim the cultural mission.
So who loses out? People in deprived communities who don’t have cars and can’t afford bus fares to some more distant super library. They are also the people who aren’t on line, and could never contemplate buying books.
It is extraordinary how easily middle-class boards and managers assume that stressed single mothers and their children, teenagers without rich parents, or impoverished old age pensioners can enjoy their mobility and alternative spending options.
The public library service should have another higher level role in providing research resources for scholars of all kinds, and in particular in the area of our own heritage. If it does nothing else it has a special duty to preserve and make available materials relating to our own society.
The Central Library in Belfast has been designated as the lead centre in this regard, but its planned £40 million plus redevelopment has been axed, and its plans for fulfilling its role are as yet a blank space.
What can we actually do? Surely this most vital of public services deserves a wide-ranging public campaign to save it and put it on the right track. If you want to catch up on what is going on with regards to the future of our libraries in Northern Ireland there is a useful blog on the Library and Information Services Council website at
By all means respond to the latest consultation on the strategic plan (deadline April 8), but I fear your protests may fall on deaf ears.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Housing Rights Advice

We recommend that anyone who needs help with housing problems, check out this organisation. As well as giving sound advice to the public on all aspects of housing rights they also have a blog;

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Public Meeting/Debate in Strabane.

16 February · 19:00 - 22:00

Strabane Library.

The Unemployed Union affiliated to the IWU will be holding a public meeting and debate in conjunction with the Strabane Trades Council in Strabane library on the 16th February at 7pm.

The event will be themed around the importance of organizing the unemployed workforce as a vehicle for revolutionary activism and the importance of building the class consciousness of the unemployed. 

Speakers at the event will include;

Eamonn McCann, of the People Before Profit Alliance.

Tommy McKearney, of the Independent Workers Union.

Michael Craig, of the Unemployed Union.

Paul Gallagher, of the Strabane Trades Council (Chair)

And a yet to be announced Capitalist panelist...

We would encourage all members of the working class in West Tyrone to attend whether waged or unwaged as we hope this event will be the catalyst for organizing the unemployed in Strabane.