May 1, 2021
May Day: Workers’ basic rights are not negotiable – Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has extended May Day solidarity greetings to Irish workers and the Labour Movement across the island on behalf of Sinn Féin.

The Junior Minister in the northern power sharing executive said:

“May Day is an important occasion internationally for workers and their families. It provides an annual focus to celebrate the achievement of fundamental workers’ rights and also remember those who made huge sacrifices in the course of labour struggles. 

“This is an opportunity to reflect on the value of workers, and recommit ourselves to the advancement of further rights and entitlements on their behalf.

“As some countries begin to emerge from the global pandemic a critical debate will be required about public health and how this is resourced in the future. It is a key discussion about the role of economic systems in serving the needs of citizens and society.

“Properly resourced public health systems are essential to the well-being of every nation. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, porters, and cleaners are the backbone of any health system. The bus drivers, refuse collectors, retail workers, teachers, dockers, and all other essential workers are the backbone of society.

“The value of Irish workers’ labour to the protection of our everyday lives is immeasurable. Without committed workforces, high quality public services would not exist. This reality is ignored by the policies of both the Tory government in London, and the Fianna Fáil/ Fine Gael/ Green Party coalition in Dublin.

“Irish workers, and their families, deserve good pay and decent working conditions. Workers’ basic rights are not negotiable. In Ireland, collective bargaining rights should be recognised in every sector and by all employers north and south. Precarious working practices must be eradicated within the workplace.

“In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic the Irish Congress of Trade Unions published the “No Going Back” policy proposals. This significant document sets out a roadmap for creating a better and fairer society in Ireland. Both the Irish government and northern power sharing executive should engage directly with Congress towards its implementation. 

“Irish workers and their families must not be made to pay the financial price for this pandemic. Future economic recovery programmes should not become the proxy for a new era of austerity. 

“International Workers’ Day 2021 also occurs at a time when the debate on future constitutional change in Ireland continues to gather momentum. The Irish Labour Movement should ensure that workers’ rights and economic equality are made central to this discussion, with the vision of the new, rights-based society envisioned by “No Going Back”.

“On behalf of Sinn Féin, I extend solidarity greetings to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and to all workers and their families, in Ireland and internationally, this May Day weekend.”

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