AUTUMN 2011 VOL: 13
Meteor Mobile Branch goes from Strength to Strength!
Contents Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CWU Insurance - FM Downes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . eircom Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CWU Band seeking new members! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Postal Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gravy Train still stops at all the right stations . . . . . . . . Organising Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Catch them if you can . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Uni Global Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Are you in the dark in your workplace? . . . . . . . . . . . . CWU Charitable Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ESCCU Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Halligan Insurances Capital Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . One Direct Commitee Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Education Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Equality Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Halligan Insurances Mortgage Protection Cover . . . . . . CSTWF Annual Report 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . An Post Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intellectual Disability Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vodafone Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Health & Safety Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CWU People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Book Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CWU Membership Application Forms . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2-3 4 5 6-7 7 8-11 12 13-15 16-18 19-23 21 24-26 27 28 29 30-31 32-34 35 36-37 38-41 42 43 44-47 48-49 50-61 62 63-64
Each year when we return from our summer breaks we normally immediately prepare for the work that needs to be done over the coming months. In the case of Union Headquarters this year that means that we have to prepare for our Conference next year, as well as the normal day to day issues. As we commence those preparations it seems to me that there is little obvious change in the economic conditions in Ireland. In particular to continually witness the people impact including family breakup, emigration, continuing rises in national unemployment with particular impact on young people, pay cuts and pension deficits with the list seemingly endless. I believe that as a society we will continue to pay for the crimes that have been committed against the people of Ireland and there is little doubt that crime will rise, in many cases linked to increased use of alcohol and drugs, as people struggle to come to terms with their situations. It would also be informative to note the suicide statistics relating to those people driven over the edge through sheer desperation. Given that it has now been firmly established that the economic recession in Ireland has been made much worse by the actions of our Government, Regulators, Bankers and Developers, it is not a short leap to make the case that they as individuals should be held to account for all that pain and suffering. Surprisingly however almost three years into this recession, not one of those people have appeared in front of the Courts and as a direct result none of them have been expected to pay for their crimes through fines or through jail terms. The mantra from the media now seems to be that we need to put those days behind us and concentrate on getting ourselves out of the
Editor: Steve Fitzpatrick Sub-Editor: Imelda Wall Issued by: Communications Workersâ€™ Union, 575 North Circular Road, Dublin 1. Telephone: 8663000 and Fax: 8663099 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Incorporating the PTWU Journal, THE RELAY and THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKER The opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the CWU.
Photographs: John Chaney Printed by Mahons Printing Works, Dublin.
mess. If only society were so forgiving of the crimes that were committed through reasons of poverty. Notwithstanding the above, the blame game continues with more and more attacks concentrated on ordinary working people and their pay and conditions. This fact is underlined by the recent Government decision to attack Sunday rates, overtime rates, shift pay and premium rates generally earned by low paid workers and formally set through registered employment orders and joint labour committees. Despite economic woes of employers they seem to have no problem spending tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands to hire high powered barristers to attack the lowest paid in the country. In our own situation we have also seen a highly profitable multi-national company off-shore jobs to Egypt and India in an attempt to become even more profitable. Despite being highly profitable in this country, it has no compunction in Steve Fitzpatrick, throwing relatively lowly paid workers in unemployment black General Secretary, CWU spots onto the scrap heap. It seems at this stage only the Irish Congress of Trade Unions can see the damage that the constant cutting to peoples’ disposable income is having on the economy, with seemingly no end to the downward spiral that these policies create. The CWU itself has also been badly hit by these failed economic policies. During this period we have seen a number of closures, planned or actually taking place, including the Call Centre in American Airlines, the delivering and packaging section of UPS in Dell Computers, the off shoring of Vodafone jobs and the closure of Datapost Ireland. In addition to those closures we have seen thousands of members leave An Post, eircom and Vodafone through voluntary exit packages. Consequently the CWU finances have also been hit and in the coming months we will have to address that situation by various measures, in addition to the agreed cuts to CWU Officers’ pay. One approach that is vital if we are to halt declining numbers is to make our union more focused on organising. The CWU took a decision many years ago to organise in the broader postal and telecommunications industries and have had some success in that arena. Unfortunately, in many cases where we have recruited some hundreds of members, the employers, under the protection of the draconian Irish labour laws, have refused to recognise our members for collective bargaining purposes. In order to boost this area and to give ourselves the best chance for survival as an independent union organising budget, which will be reviewed in two years time to establish whether or not sufficient progress is being made. I would urge every member within their own area see whether or not there are opportunities for organising new members in any local enterprise. If so, I would be most obliged if you would contact Union Headquarters with the relevant information. One of the saddest aspects of the loss of so many members from the union’s perspective is the loss of so many key activists. Particularly in eircom we have seen many members who have served us at every level within the union for many years decide to take the option of voluntary leaving. It will be near impossible to replace all of those people and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank them on your behalf and on behalf of Union Headquarters for the unselfish work they have carried out for so many years. The NEC, in recognition of this fact and in recognition of the strong bonds that many people form with their work mates before they retire, have completely revamped the CWU Pensioners’ Sections and a GS Circular has issued that will allow those members to remain connected to the union to the end of their days. I am sure the Pensioners’ Sections will be a success and for us all it will give us an opportunity to maintain the type of contact that is so necessary for a union in this day and age. 3
Agreed Terms of ePayslips Trial ✓
In line with aspects of Stage 2 discussions it has been agreed to trial ePayslips to employees. The following are the agreed terms of the ePayslips trial
5-10 field sales / account Managers – Tadgh Murphy's area – PC 10 Office based - Erin Kennedy (all PC)/Ann McGrath’s area all Graded 5 Core Nnetwork - Tony Noonan’s area Graded
When staff indicate their intention to participate, Registration & PIN Numbers will be sent week of 22nd August 2011.
Test Pilot (2) ePayslip Service Access from outside eircom i.e. Home:
Overview ePayslips provides Staff with greater security and peace of mind, in regard to the receipt of their personal and private payslips, using industry standard security benchmarks. ePayslips provides Staff with a single private and secure library of historic payslips, and P60’s available online in work and at home, with the ability to print payslips and P60’s on demand.
Currently it is not possible to access ePayslip Service via the Internet, the reason for this is the server needs to be configured to make it more secure (i.e. hardened). This is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 9th August 2011. It is proposed when this has been completed the following areas will be communicated to, from Monday 22nd August 2011, and asked if they are interested in being part of the Test Pilot (2). These groups will not have intranet access and may have to access the ePayslip Service via the Internet.
Modernise the Organisation – Opportunity Print and post has become a ‘low hanging fruit’ opportunity to move onto an e-platform. The preferred approach is to deliver payslips via a web hosted application / portal. This approach minimises cost overhead (€100k approximately) as well as satisfying security standards, functionality and ease of use by employees.
• • •
Build (Would have to access from home) - Graded SA/SD Dublin/ Rural - Graded Operator Services (Dublin/Rural) – Graded
Blackberry users will have the capability to view on the Blackberry and also on any PC with internet/intranet access.
Meteor ePayslip: It is worth noting at this point that Meteor already have ePayslips, by eircom moving to epayslips this will further align the organisation.
Access to ePayslips: Employees will receive via email a Registration No. and a PIN No. to access the system. This is their own personal identification to access ePayslips. It is recommended that they keep details confidential and in a safe place.
Costs & payback & other factors The solution will ensure our capability to deliver this ePayslips to every desktop / handheld unit e.g. in operator services staff have only specific PC access to role specific applications and software.
If an employees looses or forgets their pin no. they can get it from the system themselves, if they forget their Registration No. they need to request it by:
System Testing: This system test commenced on 7th July 2011, which provided insight into how the system performs for office based staff, the system test proved very successful.
Calling: 1800 21 21 31 “Payroll” option Or Email: email@example.com Your queries will be answered by the eircom group payroll team.
TUA and eircom Group Meeting Following on from the TUA and Eircom Group meeting on 27th July 2011, it was a greed that eircom would provide the TUA with the proposal for a Testing Roll-out.
Email address: Every user must have an email address, if an employee does not have a work email address, a home email address can be input into the system. The email address is used to communicate Registration & PIN Numbers and advise payslips are available.
Testing Roll-out Proposal The following is the proposal for Test Pilot (1) and Test Pilot (2).
Test Pilot (1) It is proposed that Staff from the following business areas will receive an Invitation email during the week of 15th August, asking them if they are interested in participating, on a voluntary basis:
P60s will be available online and also posted out yearly. The online solution will give the capability to access your P60 at anytime.
5 staff from Centre - Tony Brohan’s Ennis Centre (COTs CTLs and TO) - Graded 5 Planners - John Scully - provincial group - Graded
The information is very secure, each employee will be given a Registration No. and PIN No. which is unique to them. 5
Union Recognition at UPS The current Framework Procedural Agreement between --the CWU and UPS, which has been in operation since 1999, recognises the union’s sole right to represent its members on matters of discipline and individual grievance only. The agreement states “For the avoidance of any doubt, this agreement does not grant recognition to the union to negotiate pay and pay-related conditions, manning, work practices, or any matters specifically included above.”
Automation The phased rollout of An Post’s new state of the art automated sorting machines continues on schedule. Portlaoise Mails Centre now has four new fully automated letter sorting machines in operation. Work has commenced at the DMC with the removal of obsolete letter sorting machinery which is being replaced by five new machines. The upgrade of existing machinery at Athlone and Cork is also on track. In tandem with the rollout of the new automation, local discussions are taking place between the Company and the Union at each of the four mail centres to address the staff impact issues associated with the introduction and use of the new equipment.
In November 2005 the union lodged a claim with the Company at the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) seeking to amend the current Framework Agreement to include full collective bargaining rights on pay and pay related issues. The Company agreed to consider the matter at the time, however despite repeated attempts by the union to engage on the issue the Company showed no real willingness to even discuss the union’s claim. Unfortunately, under current legislation there is no requirement on companies in Ireland to recognise trade unions and there are no legal grounds on which to pursue recognition. The CWU re-submitted its claim for full collective bargaining with UPS in 2007 and again in early 2010 when a comprehensive draft agreement was presented to the Company. To date however, despite several assurances from management that it would respond formally to the union, there have been no further developments. The union has tabled the issue once again for discussion at the forthcoming JCC with the Company, and the union’s executive council will review what progress, if any, has been made thereafter. While there is currently nothing in Irish law to assist the union in gaining recognition, there are always other options which can be considered by the union.
Parcels Re-engineering Discussions are ongoing with the Company in relation to the proposed reengineering of its parcel sorting and distribution network. As previously stated, the main points of the proposals are to: • • • • •
Grow market share while ensuring profitability Maximise efficiency in terms of parcel sorting Better streaming of parcels and packets Redesign of the distribution network Improve service offering to the customer
While the main discussions are being co-ordinated by the union’s Collection and Delivery Group, a number of subgroups have been established to engage directly with the Company as follows:
UPS European Works Council Elections to the UPS European Works Council are expected to take place towards the end of 2011. The Works Council, which was established under European Directive 94/45/EC, is to ensure that there is high level information and consultation within multi-national companies. Elections are held by the Company in each member state at least every five years. The current representative for Ireland on the Council is standing down due to his retirement from the Company. The CWU will be seeking to have a trade union representative from within the Company elected to fill the Irish seat on the Council and will be campaigning support for its chosen candidate as soon as a date for the election is announced by the Company.
• • •
Parcel Distribution Network Provincial Mails Centres Kilbarrack and Merrywell
The first stage of the discussions focussed on the proposals themselves and their viability. The second stage, which is now under way, is to establish what exactly the staff impact issues would be on an office by office basis and how they may be dealt with. If this stage can be completed satisfactorily the union will then engage centrally with the Company on the overall proposals.
Donation to St Michael’s House Following an appeal to the NEC by the UPS Dublin Branch for assistance towards the purchase of a special wheelchair swing for St Michaels House Special National School at Baldoyle in Dublin, a donation of €1,000 was approved. The donation was presented to the School Principal, Mr Tim Maher by CWU member and UPS employee, Padraic O’Shea who’s daughter Lea attends the school.
Lea, pictured here with her dad and the school principal, suffers with Cerebral Palsy.
COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS’ UNION BAND The CWU Band is seeking new members!!! Are you interested in joining a band and making new friends? Are you a brass, woodwind, or percussion player? All musicians are very welcome! We rehearse every Sunday morning at CWU premises on the North Circular Road, Dublin 1 To find out more, please contact: Jimmy O’Keeffe at 087-7970880; Ciaran Scarlett at 087-2266640; or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginners and New Members Welcome! 7
Health & Safety Update - An Post The Union Health and Safety Committee continues to proactively raise Health and Safety concerns with the Company. Outlined below is a summary of some of the issues currently under discussion.
Vaccinations for Patrols staff Following a risk assessment, it is agreed that the Patrols staff based in Retail Offices will be offered vaccinations starting with Hepatitis B. The vaccinations are voluntary and the basis for them will be outlined to the staff concerned in advance.
Driver Safety Training – Update
Adverse Weather Policy
The union agreed a driver training and assessment programme with the Company in 2009. The assessment is carried out by a qualified independent assessor. In advance of the training, the Regional Transport Managers visit each Delivery Service Unit to advise drivers on what is required during the test as well as outlining the various daily and weekly checks that should be undertaken. To date 1,326 drivers have undergone training with the majority categorised as low risk or relatively low risk A small number of employees were categorised as at risk and have undergone training on an individual basis. The company and the union are extremely satisfied with the high standard of driving as demonstrated by the independent assessment.
Over the past two winters we have experienced some extremely bad weather and many members have sought advice in relation to their own personal health and safety and what is expected of them. Given this and in some cases the lack of knowledge on the management side we discussed with the Company the introduction of an adverse weather policy which would give support and guidance to both Managers and Employees on what to do when faced with the extreme weather conditions they experienced this past year. The company presented the union with a draft policy at the Health and Safety Sub Committee of the Joint Conciliation Council. While we welcomed the introduction of the policy we were not happy with the draft presented as we did not believe that it explained in enough detail what is expected of employees during periods of bad weather. The Draft outlines the Company Policy and the role and responsibilities of the employees and the various Managers as well as providing tips on driving in specific conditions. We believe that some amendments, additions and clarifications need to be added to the policy to address the concerns of the Staff Side. Our principal concerns with regard to the policy are as follows:
Bicycles The union raised concerns at the Health and Safety Committee in relation to the bicycle fleet. The Company advised the Committee that an audit concluded that there was a surplus of bicycles throughout the Company. While the union has no doubt that the actual number of bicycles in the system may be greater than the number of cycle posts we are strongly of the view that some of the bicycles are sub standard. These need to be removed from the system to ensure that all bicycles conform to an agreed high standard. We also raised concerns about the bicycle maintenance programme. There appears to be a particular difficulty with the chain guard. We believe that bicycle maintenance should be retained locally. This matter will be discussed further at our next meeting. Any observations or comments from Branches are most welcome.
Safety Reps The 2005 Health, Safety and Welfare at Work provides for the selection of Safety Representatives. Section 25 of the Act entitles employees to decide on, select and appoint safety representatives or by agreement with their employer more than one safety representative. The Company has no involvement in the selection of Safety Reps although they provide the necessary training courses. It is important that we ensure that Safety Reps are elected in all locations where we have members and that once elected the necessary training is provided. In that regard we have requested the Company to provide us with details of all upcoming training courses. One course is schedules for the Cork Mail Centre from the 27th to the 29th September and another one is scheduled for the Athlone Mails Centre from the 4th to the 6th October.
The adverse weather policy should apply to all staff not just those employed in Mails Processing The policy should contain a statement that employees are responsible for their own acts and omissions and no employee will be disciplined if they make a decision in good faith about a Health and Safety issue. Local Managers should be responsible for maintaining proper safety standards in their office and any decision made to protect the Health and Safety of the staff will be supported by Senior Management There is a concern on our side that Managers not present to assess a particular situation are being asked to make decisions about delaying or suspending collections or deliveries and that this decision is being taken away from Local Managers The Policy should advise Managers what to do if a Postperson advises him/her that it is unsafe to undertake or complete a delivery There should be information provided on what to do if someone breaks down We believe that the Company should issue advice to Postal Operatives about the risks of staying out after dark in bad weather The Policy should advise staff and managers what to do if an employee can’t get to work or if someone has childcare
Postal Update commitments. For example what type of leave is available
• • • •
We have sought responses from the Company in relation to the points outlined above and it is hoped that we can finalise this policy shortly.
The Health and Safety Committee is led by Pat Kenny and the other members of the Committee are Damien Tuohy Galway, Vincent Kilroy Naas / Portlaoise Managers, Ger O Brien North Kerry Postal and Syl Curran Dublin Postal Amalgamated Branch. Any concerns in relation to Health and Safety should be forwarded to the Group.
Other issues that continue to be the subject of discussion are: • • • •
Drugs and Alcohol Policy Personal Protective Equipment Lone Work Policy Safety Guides
Provision of Defibrillators Night Work Policy Eye and eyesight assessment Traffic Management
positive contribution. The current situation is reported by the Company as follows:
Postal Managers DSM / Working Leaders
REQUIRED PERFORMANCE CURRENT PERFORMANCE
Collection: Processing: Delivery: Overall Performance:
The sub-group of the Postal Management Group dealing with the DSM / Working Leaders issues met with the Company to progress issues of concern relating to the following. ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢
DSM Workload Audits Performance Related Pay Private Vehicle Inspections Cluster DSMs Annual Leave Postal Operative Cover
99% 99% 87% 85%
However, ComReg has reported a worrying deterioration nin Quarter 2 for this year. The Company has therefore concluded that the main area that now requires extensive examination is the delivery area. As this is a major area in the process, the union is supportive of such an examination to establish how further improvements can be achieved. However it will be necessary to also continue to focus on the Mail Centres and Collection to ensure the Company’s contentions regarding performance are correct.
A further Headquarters meeting is being arranged to progress matters.
Addressing Delivery Issues
The scope of the sub-group of the Postal Management Group to deal with the implementation of the Framework Agreement on Automation in the Mails Centres includes; ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢
>99% >97% >98% 94%
Transponder Measurement & Operations data shows that the Collection and processing elements of the Mails Operations are meeting the required standard outlined above. This data indicates that the remaining key QoS issues to be addressed are potentially in the delivery area. Further analysis of delivery operational data, including over 600 office inspections per month, shows that there are no major issues with mail being left in delivery units although it is recognised internal mis-sorts do feature in some offices. This has led the Company to conclude that Delivery issues are perhaps occurring while ‘on the road’. The issues identified below are the main areas highlighted for examination.
Managers’ responsibilities and accountabilities Pay and remuneration issues Management structures Staff impact issues Acting arrangements
The subgroup, which consists of a Work Area Manager and Work Area Organisers from the Dublin Mails Centre and a Process Area Manager from Athlone, Cork and Portlaoise, met with the Company on 27th July 2011. It was agreed that the next meeting would take place in the autumn.
Customer Service Complaints Mis-delivery of mail is the most reported complaint to Customer Services. Since the beginning of this year all customer complaints are logged centrally. In the first six months 623 complaints of misdelivery have been reported. Because of the change in the system it is not possible to establish if this is an increase or decrease.
Retail The union is seeking to have vacant Branch Manager positions filled as a priority in dealing with the next stage of the Managers Salary Review.
Recycling/Reposting of Mail
Quality of Service
New checking procedures have been implemented at all Mail Centres which have established a high level of mail being reposted, with over 600 items identified in the DMC in the first week of the checks. This is a combination of mis-delivered mail and/or recycling by either customers or, perhaps in some cases, delivery staff.
The Joint Working Group established to examine Quality of Service recently gave consideration to a number of issues relating to An Posts next day delivery performance. -≠-Over the past couple of years the focus on Quality has resulted in significant improvements to which the Company has acknowledged the staff’s 9
Postal Update It is the Company’s intention to pursue these reports with customers or individual members of staff. In the case of employees, the Company has advised that any serious irregularities will be dealt with through the disciplinary procedures. It is necessary the union should draw to the attention of members the procedures provide that, where it is considered extremely serious misconduct such as willful delay of mail, dismissal may be the ultimate penalty.
While the main discussions are being co-ordinated by the union’s Collection and Delivery Group, a number of sub-groups have been established to engage directly with the Company as follows: • • •
The first stage of the discussions focused on the proposals themselves and their viability. The second stage, which is now under way, is to establish what exactly the staff impact issues would be on an office by office basis and how they may be dealt with. If this stage can be completed satisfactorily the union will then engage centrally with the company on the overall proposals.
Mail left in CMVs/Private Cars A number of instances have been reported of mail left in CMVs and Private cars. Processes are also now in place to check these on an ongoing basis. Obviously there are varying reasons for the difficulties identified above as staff are not perfect and mistakes are made. This is not a new phenomenon to An Post, neither are the senior management ranks immune to mistakes as evidenced by recent events. Indeed even the machines make mistakes. Our reasons for supporting Quality of Service improvements are that, despite the improvements to date, ComReg (The Postal Regulator) who has set the benchmark of 94% next day delivery, has the facility to impose financial penalties on the Company if it fails to reach the targets set. Such a proposition is daft given the Regulator will not take into consideration mitigating circumstances such as the very bad weather, Good Friday and Christmas postings and one would be forgiven for believing that the objective of ComReg is to see An Post fail.
Collection & Delivery Update The total number of redesigned Delivery Service Units now stands at eighty seven (87). Clones and Letterkenny introduced the new working arrangements in August bringing the number to nine (9) offices this year to date. In Letterkenny the changes coincided with a move to a new premises, resulting from almost €2 million investment by An Post. The Company has scheduled two further offices for redesign this year at Birr and Belturbet.
Redesign 2 - Round the Houses again The Collection and Delivery redesign 2 has commenced at four offices with target implementation in early November. Staff at Cardiff Lane, Galway, Limerick and Cork South City were presented proposals in September which contain substantial staff reductions. The Company with the support of the Monitoring Group, decided to do a full redesign (go around the houses again) to take out under-scheduling and the 15% Interim Allowance together with addressing reductions in mail volumes.
ISO9001 Notwithstanding the position of the Regulator it is pleasing to report that C&D has been independently certified by NSAI to the ISO9001: 2008 Quality Management Standard. Furthermore Precertification has been achieved in the Mail Centres.
Crumlin DSU 12 Waterford DSU Sligo DSU Tallaght DSU 24 Cork North City DSU Castlebar DSU Gorey DSU Ennis DSU Foxrock DSU 18 Naas DSU Kilmallock DSU Finglas DSU 11 Mallow DSU Ballinasloe DSU Boyle DSU Phibsboro DSU 7 Dundalk DSU Ballsbridge DSU 4 Swords DSU Rutland Place DSU 1 Baldoyle DSU 13 Glenageary DSU Blackrock DSU Listowel Whitehall DSU 9
The phased rollout of An Post’s new state of the art automated sorting machines continues on schedule. Portlaoise Mails Centre now has four new fully automated letter sorting machines in operation. Work has commenced at the DMC with the removal of obsolete letter sorting machinery which is being replaced by five new machines. The upgrade of existing machinery at Athlone and Cork is also on track. In tandem with the rollout of the new automation, local discussions are taking place between the company and the union at each of the four mail centres to address the staff impact issues associated with the introduction and use of the new equipment.
Parcels Re-engineering Discussions are ongoing with the Company in relation to the proposed reengineering of its parcel sorting and distribution network. As previously stated, the main points of the proposals are to: • • • • •
Parcel Distribution Network Provincial Mails Centres Kilbarrack and Merrywell
Grow market share while ensuring profitability Maximise efficiency in terms of parcel sorting Better streaming of parcels and packets Redesign of the distribution network Improve service offering to the customer 10
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Protect Your Post Campaign – Influence Legislation On the 2 August 2011, the President signed into law the Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Act 2011, which transposes the EU Third Postal Directive and represents the final step in the opening of the postal market in Ireland to full competition. This signals the end of the current Protect Your Post Campaign, which has enjoyed considerable success in representing member’s interests. The campaign has ensured that the original legislation, which contained several drawbacks for the postal market and specifically for our An Post members, has been improved as a result of the amendments we sought to have included during the Dáil Debates.
amendments sought by the Union.
Key elements of the legislation that the CWU were concerned with are outlined below: •
Universal Service Obligation – the guarantee of a daily postal service to every address throughout the entire country is enshrined in the legislation and given that the USO is the cornerstone of the postal network, this legal guarantee is critical. The Third Postal Directive on which the Irish legislation is based provided for this guarantee in law. This guarantee was as a result of the continued lobbying and campaigning conducted by the trade union movement across Europe to protect postal markets everywhere which the CWU played a key role in.
Funding of the USO – this was a key concern for the CWU. With the removal of the small monopoly that An Post has in letter post, which was used to fund the USO to date. The key question was how would the USO be funded into the future? The current legislation provides for a fund that postal users will pay into in circumstances where the USO becomes a serious financial burden for An Post. More importantly however, the CWU successfully argued that An Post should be free to compete in the marketplace without the kind of unfair regulatory controls that we have seen imposed on other postal operators following liberalisation such as Royal Mail in the UK. Critical to this was the issue of downstream access.
Downstream Access – the Union fought hard to ensure that access to the An Post network would only be permitted on terms that would ensure that the Company would receive a fair price for mail it might carry for other operators. As a result of the Union’s efforts ComReg must now take into consideration the cost of the capital expenditure on the network as well as the feasibility of the access being sought in any decision that it takes in setting a price for downstream access. These amendments could well prove vitally important as competition in the marketplace develops over the coming years and they are there as a direct result of the
Universal Service Provider – An Post is now designated as the postal operator who must guarantee the Universal Service for the next twelve years. In the original legislation An Post was designated as the Universal Service Provider but only for a period of seven years, which the CWU felt was too short a period of time for the business to make any long term plans and, as such, we succeeded in having this amendment tabled to ensure that the Company can now plan for the future in a more sensible way.
Ministerial Oversight – the CWU has consistently expressed concern that the Regulator is not democratically accountable. As such the union strenuously argued that there should be enhanced ministerial oversight in relation to decisions made by ComReg. As a result, the legislation now includes provision whereby the Minister can effectively veto decisions made by the regulator in relation to the designation of the Universal Service Provider.
The success of the “Protect Your Post” Campaign is largely down to the fact that CWU Members made a conscious decision to get involved and take action to defend the Irish postal market. Members all over the country met with their local councillors, wrote to TDs, sent emails from the Protect Your Post website and ultimately made sure that local politicians at every level were fully aware of the concerns that postal workers had in relation to the proposed legislation. By making sure our political representatives were properly informed on the potential threats within the bill, we made sure that our fair and reasonable concerns were given a good hearing and ultimately our actions had a direct effect on the final draft of the legislation. This is to the credit of every member who took action and is proof once again that where a group of workers, with the direction and support of their union and acting in solidarity with each other, set about protecting their interests in the political arena, they can achieve considerable success. A special note of thanks should also be extended to the Liberalisation Sub Group of the National Executive, who was instrumental in coordinating the campaign across the country. They ultimately took responsibility for ensuring that every Branch was properly briefed on our issues and concerns and that, equally every Branch took action and made representations to their local representatives. This kind of grass roots activism was essential to the union succeeding in securing the amendments that we sought. Of course there is still much work to be done as the legislation is put into practise but for now our members should be proud of what they achieved. 11
Gravy train still stops at all the right stations
FINTAN O'TOOLE, Tue, May 31, 2011
Ivor Callely will get €63,000 a year for the rest of his life yet Richard Bruton targets the poorest workers
of labour cost”. They belong to what Charles Dickens in Hard Times calls “the multitude . . . generically called ‘the Hands’ – a race who would have found more favour with some people if providence had seen fit to make them only hands.” What do the Hands need with Sundays? There was a time when it suited the powers that be to grant them Sundays for their spiritual and moral edification. But now that time is gone, Sunday should be just another day for the Hands. Not, mind you, for the Brains who have important things to do on Sundays, like being with their kids or visiting their parents or going to a match or taking a walk. But since the Hands do none of these things, it is clearly extortionate that they should demand extra money for giving up something that couldn’t possibly mean anything to them. What is the agenda in all of this? Ostensibly, it is to create jobs. But as the Kevin Duffy-Frank Walsh report on the subject found, there is simply no evidence that attacking the wages of low-paid workers will lead to a substantial increase in employment. The notion that the Irish low paid are living high on the hog is ludicrous. Hourly labour costs in the hospitality sector, for example, are already the third lowest in the EU. And the evidence shows that workers in the sectors covered by the system are just as likely to have taken wage cuts as those who are not; so much for the need for “flexibility”. Is the agenda, then, to do with the crisis in the public finances? Clearly not: wage cuts will cost the State revenue. According to the think tank Tasc (whose council I chair), the direct cost to the exchequer of cutting a worker from €9.27 an hour to the current minimum wage is €1,865 a year per worker. This is without considering the indirect costs of reduced economic demand and the growth in demand for social services as workers and their families struggle to cope on poverty wages. So if it’s not to do with jobs and it would make the crisis in the public finances worse, why are we even discussing wage cuts for the low paid? Because the crisis is an opportunity to dismantle the minimal protections that vulnerable working people have gained over the last century. Because the elite will sacrifice anyone to protect itself. And because it allows sleek, smug people to look tough while the gravy train still stops at all the right stations.
WHAT IS the price of a litre of milk? How much does a sliced pan cost? Are baked beans cheaper in Aldi or in Dunnes? What’s the typical bus fare between a workingclass city suburb and an industrial estate? There are people who know the answers to these questions and there are those who don’t. And the most nauseating sound in Ireland is the people who don’t, pontificating about the people who do. It is smug, sleek people who live in a bubble of comfort and self-satisfaction deciding that the problem in this bloody country is that the women who clean their offices are paid too much. This is a State in which Ivor Callely, who is so smart he couldn’t quite figure out where he was living, is due to get more than a quarter of a million euro from the taxpayers over the next year as compensation for the fact that he can’t get elected anymore. For the rest of his life, which could be about 40 years, Ivor will get a pension of €63,000 a year. With his lump sums that’s a total of about €2.75 million. Now let’s consider a contract cleaner, whose featheredbedded status apparently keeps Richard Bruton awake at night. She gets up before dawn or leaves home after dusk to scrub toilets, polish floors and pick up the mess of people she’ll never even see. I’ve never worked as a senator, so I can only imagine the stress that Ivor would have been under trying to work out all those complex expenses claims. But I have worked as a contract cleaner. It is miserable and soul-destroying, and I’d stick my neck out and say it’s a lot harder on the human spirit than waffling in the Senate while doing a bit of property development on the side. Under the wage-setting mechanisms that Richard Bruton sees as such a problem, the contract cleaner gets €370.50 a week and no pension. That’s €770,000 over 40 years. In other words, Ivor will get more than 3½ times for doing nothing at all what the cleaner will get for doing a miserable job in unsocial hours. And which of them does Richard Bruton see as a problem for Ireland, as the one whose overinflated sense of self-worth must be brought down to size if we are to face reality? Not Ivor, apparently. But then, Ivor, however repellent, is an individual. He’s a person. He has a name. Contract cleaners don’t have names. They are not people. They don’t have kids. They are “units
© 2011 The Irish Times 12
Congratulations to our newest Branch section, “Meteor Rigney Dolphin Park West”. Currently the committee members are Michael Crowe Secretary, Stephen Dunne, Alan Brennan, Alan Maher, Larry Ojelade and Louise Quinn. The committee has already met on a number of occasions and have identified and resolved a number of issues in the workplace. The committee aims to increase an awareness of the CWU at Park West. The committee have already assigned themselves roles to do this. Larry Ojelade has responsibility to ensure that the union notice board is up to date. Alan Brennan is responsible for equality. Alan Maher assumes a health and safety role, while Louise Quinn has volunteered to assist the Youth Committee. This level of commitment and delegation is a credit to Michael and Stephen who have worked tirelessly with Union Headquarters’ to reach this milestone. Our next challenge is to map the workplace and increase our density levels.
Rigney Dolphin Call Centre Update Inaugural Meteor Rigney Committee meeting at Park West
Rigney Dolphin Committee Pictured l to r: Larry Ojelade, Alan Brennan, Alan Maher, Louise Quinn, Stephen Dunne and Michael Crowe.
to become more involved with the union and we are delighted to announce that our first Meteor retail volunteer was recently trained. Kirstin Feeney is currently working out of the Meteor store in Northside shopping centre in Dublin, was accompanied to the training session with Stephen Kiernan and Michael Fleming who work in Vodafone retail stores in Blanchardstown and Grafton St. It is the intention of the CWU to continue to recruit and organise in Meteor e-mobile and Vodafone stores across the country. We are currently making arrangements to train further groups in Dublin and Cork.
CWU trains Meteor retail and Vodafone Retail Local Reps CWU Organisers recently visited Dublin Meteor retail stores. As a result of the visits many Meteor retail workers took the opportunity to join their colleagues and become members of the CWU. In addition members had the opportunity to raise workplace issues and as a result of union representation a number of individual cases were raised with management and successfully resolved. In addition to this we invited members
Call Centre Action Month, October 2011 The CWU is participating in an international campaign, organised by Union Network International (UNI) to promote October as a ‘Call Centre Action Month.’ Every year UNI, the global union of which the CWU is an affiliate, designates October as a month to campaign and focus on organising, to raise awareness of issues affecting call centre workers and work toward improving working conditions. As part of this campaign the CWU is planning to host a Call Centre Forum this October. Call centre workers from across the spectrum will be invited to sit down with their colleagues to openly discuss and focus on the struggles they face in their workplace everyday. Call centre workers share a pride in the professionalism they bring to their job, and
the satisfaction which comes from helping callers. To do this, they need employers to provide a workplace that fosters dignity and respect for workers. While work arrangements and organisation in the majority of call centres are similar, working conditions can differ enormously. Some centres provide good conditions for their staff while some have room for improvement. Some of the difficulties that call centre employees have reported include: unrealistic targets, health and safety issues, excessive performance management, stress, inadequate training, contract issues and a general lack of control in their work. Numerous studies, both national and international, have shown that unionised call centre workers enjoy better wages and conditions, more control over their work and greater job satisfaction in general. Through the Call Centre Forum, the CWU hopes to hear the real story from the 13
‘coal face’ and to foster a sense of solidarity amongst call centre workers from all aspects of the industry. The information gathered at this forum can then be compiled in to a report giving welldefined and specific goals to the organising team, putting call centre workers’ issues firmly on the union’s agenda. Don’t forget we are now on facebook and why not check out our updated website
www.cwu.ie Are you working in a meteor or Vodafone retail store? Would you like to become more involved in your union? The CWU always welcomes volunteers to act as local reps or get involved with the youth committee. If you would like more information email
CWU brought on behalf of our members at the company under the 2004 Industrial Relations Act. The dispute centered on a new pay and reward system, which was introduced in 2007 as part of cost saving measures brought in to address trading difficulties. As part of the changes, the company reassigned salary band II staff to the former salary band I (now known as salary band A). The maximum point was reduced from €13.08 to €11.25 per hour. Workers who were earning in excess of €11.25 per hour at that time were red-circled on their current rate. Workers below €11.25 per hour were capped at that level.
CWU recruits several new members at Obelisk CWU Organisers were recently contacted by workers at Obelisk Networks, a privately owned company that provides services across the telecommunications industry. Staff were concerned about changes to their terms and conditions of employment. Union Organisers arranged a number of meetings at which several workers subsequently joined the union. Workers raised many issues including the right to union representation at individual disciplinary and grievance meetings. The company have so far refused to facilitate its workers who wish to avail of union representation. The union asked the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) to intervene with the aim of the company amending its procedures and allowing for union representation at individual grievance and disciplinary meetings. A meeting was held at the LRC to discuss the issue during which the union raised its concerns. Following the meeting the company asked for time to consider its position. We will update you as the situation develops. In July members from Obelisk contacted the CWU regarding impending redundancies at the company. The union sought to engage with the company to discuss the situation but the company refused to do so. The manner in which the company announced the redundancies and the process which was used for selection created unnecessary stress and anxiety for workers. The story was picked up by the local media. Ian McArdle Head of Organising expressed the workers’ concerns in the Anglo Celt "In asking all staff to re-apply for their jobs, Obelisk simply ensured that everyone must endure a longer period of stress and uncertainty in circumstances where there is no clear business plan behind the call for redundancies". Indeed workers at Obelisk spoke of the company employing contract workers, while at the same time permanent workers faced the threat of redundancy. The company which employs over 200 people initially told staff that all workers must reapply for their jobs and that no position was guaranteed. The union wrote to the company outlining our concerns and seeking to engage in constructive negotiations with them on the issue of the redundancies. Although the company refused to engage with the union the company introduced an appeal mechanism for employees selected for compulsory redundancy.
Legitimate Expectation The union claimed the new salary scales had a detrimental effect on the income of some workers, namely those on former salary band II, who had not yet reached the maximum of the scale. The union also maintained that this category of workers had “a legitimate expectation” that they would, over time, reach the maximum of salary band II and that this opportunity had now been denied to them. The Court found that as a result of the salary restructuring, some workers on the former salary band II were “uniquely disadvantaged”. The workers affected “had a reasonable expectation that they would, subject to performance reviews, progress over time to the maximum point of the Salary Band”. However, the Court noted that “no individual actually lost money but rather lost potential earnings into the future”. Furthermore, “almost all of the workers affected have in fact earned more money under the new pay structures than they would have earned under the discontinued structures albeit subject to the achievement of higher and different performance standards”. The Court recommended compensation of €2,000 to those salary band II staff who had been earning less than the maximum point of the scale in November 2007. The company should also “examine the actual pay outcomes for the staff affected over the years since 2007 and put in place an appropriate training and support program to assist those affected [to] maximise their earnings levels through the performance related payment system”, the Court recommended. (LCR20080 – Brendan Hayes, deputy chairman). This demonstrates what can be achieved with the collective power of employees even in circumstances in which employers are hostile towards trade unions.
CWU secures €2,000 payment for Global Telesales workers!
Two Organisers Appointed
Following a recent hearing the Labour Court recommended that Global Telesales pay €2,000 to workers who had lost potential future earnings as a result of salary band restructuring. This concludes a long running case which the
CWU is proud to announce the appointment of two new Organisers, Amanda O’Hara and Adam O'Maolagáin. Their appointment is a welcome addition to the existing organising team and further underlines the CWU’s continued commitment to move 14
from a servicing to an organising union. It is also recognition of the fact that organising is becoming increasingly important to the continued viability of the CWU in the long term. In what is a very difficult labour market where the recruitment of new members remains very challenging, these appointments reflect the fact that, like many other trade unions, the CWU is recognising the need for
continued support and resources in the area of organising. While organising is the responsibility of every member, the appointment of these two organisers which bring the number of Organisers to four, is part and parcel of the revised organising strategy that was discussed at a recent meeting of the National Executive Council.
Amanda has recently joined the orgainising team here in C.W.U. She completed her degree in N.U.I. Maynoooth in 2006 and worked in the Studentsâ€™ Union for a year before commencing work in Ordnance Survey Ireland where she was for the past 4 years. Whilst working there, she held position of assistant secretary on the branch committee and also held a position on the IMPACT youth committee. She participated in numerous campaigns IMPACT ran over the years. She is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead in her organising role in C.W.U.
Adam began working in the Vodafone call centre for Rigney Dolphin in Dundalk in 2004. He was elected to the branch committee in 2005 and was the longest serving member of the Dundalk branch before leaving to join us here at the CWU. He has also recently finished up a degree in Public Relations in Dundalk Institute of Technology and is looking forward to putting his knowledge of call centres and agency work to good use here at the CWU.
CWU Secures Enhanced Redundancy for American Airlines Members strong mandate the Committee entered negotiations with management on the redundancy package. Following several weeks of tough and intensive discussions with management a proposed deal has been communicated to the members as follows: in conjunction with the statutory entitlement staff will receive 3 weeks ex-gratia per year of service; for staff with no statutory entitlement (i.e. those with less than 2 years service) they will receive 3 weeks ex-gratia per year also. In addition to this staff will receive up to 8 weeks pay as a lump sum severance payment depending on their length of service. The amount received will be calculated in line with the statutory notice period entitlements. Furthermore the staff will retain flight privileges for up to 2 years and the Committee also secured a reduced rate for members flying from Dublin when AA flights are not operational from the airport. A members meeting was held on August 29th to discuss the proposals and the membersâ€™ reaction was generally positive though some additional clarifications are needed on aspects of the deal. At the time of writing the union was awaiting these clarifications but it is the intention of the Committee that the proposals as outlined above will be put to a ballot of the members. The CWU Committee in American Airlines which includes Anne Zanini, Delphine Chabasse, Roger Martin, Henning Droege and Dominique LeGoff have done an excellent job in securing this package and along with the rest of the members in the Branch they have clearly demonstrated what can be achieved when workers get together, show some solidarity with each other and trust their Branch Committee to do the best they can.
In July CWU members in American Airlines were left reeling after they received the shocking news that the company had decided to close the office in Dublin by December 2011 and offshore the operation to an outside provider based in Cape Town thereby putting all 135 jobs at risk. The local CWU Branch Committee was quick to react and called an emergency members meeting the following week so that the members could share their immediate reaction with the union and discuss their fears and concerns arising from the news. In the meantime the CWU shop steward, Anne Zanini, along with the rest of the Committee set about recruiting any nonmembers into the union, communicating with members on the ground and generally acting in a supporting role as staff absorbed and coped with the sad news. As a result of these efforts on the ground by the Committee, the members meeting on the 28th July enjoyed a huge attendance. A very constructive debate took place on the options available to the CWU Committee on what their next steps should be and what the membersâ€™ expectations were in terms of any potential enhanced redundancy deal. It should be noted that American Airlines up to now had a strict policy of only paying the minimum statutory entitlement. The Committee was keen to emphasise to the members that any kind of an enhanced package would be very difficult to achieve but that in the circumstances the union would be fully prepared to fight hard for a fair deal. The members suggested that industrial action should not be ruled out and that they were fully prepared to pursue this should it be required as they wanted the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible so they could plan for their future. And so with this
Catch them if you can As we struggle to come to terms with the impact of the collapse of the Irish economy and witness the return of emigration, massive increases in the levels of unemployment, cutbacks in public services, home repossessions etc., the question needs to be asked - What action is being taken against the people whose reckless behaviour brought about the current situation? The answer is nothing. Unlike other countries i.e. America and Great Britain where business people and politicians have been brought before the Courts, prosecuted and sentenced to prison, no such action has been taken against their counterparts in Ireland. In the Ireland of today, the “cute hoor” mentality is alive and well. Certain writers have the capacity to capture all that is wrong in Irish society and one such writer is Fintan O’Toole, whose article below, was published in The Irish Times on the 6th August 2011.
Ireland has had revelation after revelation of the lowest standards in the highest places of Church and State – but where is the accountability?
N THE ANNALS of the Irish elite, Michael Fingleton’s watch is now up there with John O’Donoghue’s hat. The damage that has been done to irish society by a culture of impunity is so great and long-lasting, the numbers so incomprehensibly vast, that it is easier to fix on a tiny detail. The sense of entitlement that clung to the holders of public office was summed up by the belief of the former Ceann Comhairle that it was okay for the taxpayer to fork out €120 to hire a white straw boater for him to wear at the races at Ascot. Taxpayers footing the bill for an €11,500 watch as a retirement present for one of the men who has done most to ruin the country has the same tragicomic feel. The watch is, of course, just a cipher, a metaphor that stands for a reality that is still almost impossible to credit.
Michael Fingleton’s grotesque mismanagement of Irish Nationwide has cost citizens €5.4 billion: that’s €3,000 for everyone at work in the Irish economy. To put this in perspective, Fingleton’s building society has cost Ireland almost the entire amount of money cut in last year’s savage austerity budget. Yet he received a bonus of €1 million for his last year in office: a bonus which, in spite of promises to the contrary, has not been repaid. More importantly, he walked away with a pension fund of €27.6 million. Fingleton’s case may be grotesque but it is not untypical. The catastrophe that has overtaken Ireland has not ushered in a new era of accountability. We have had revelation after revelation of the lowest standards in the highest places of Church and State. What has happened as a result? Not very 16
much. Here, too, Fingleton’s watch has symbolic value: for all the bluster this week, no one has any power to take it back. The chances are he’ll continue to wear it with pride.
Anglo Irish Bank The collapse of Anglo has cost citizens almost €30 billion. Just 10 gardaí have been assigned to work with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement on the criminal investigation into alleged malpractice at the bank. Last week, the High Court was told, to no one’s great surprise, that the investigation could not meet a deadline previously imposed by the court. No charges will be brought until 2012 – at the earliest. The Director of Public Prosecutions will not even make a decision on whether
to prosecute until all investigations into all possible offences are complete. The investigation into Anglo is undoubtedly complex, but it is being hampered by the extraordinary fact that key witnesses have been able, with impunity, to refuse to cooperate. More than 10 important witnesses have simply refused to give evidence to the investigators. The Government has moved to deal with this situation through the passage of the Criminal Justice Act, which makes it an offence not to pass on information relevant to investigations into financial institutions. These sanctions will not be retrospective: previous refusal to co-operate will not be punished. But, in principle, any continuing lack of co-operation should result in prosecution. Meanwhile, until the criminal investigation reaches a conclusion, no other action can be taken against Anglo executives. The Central Bank announced in June that it is deferring its investigations into the bank’s senior management. In March, the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board suspended indefinitely its disciplinary hearings against four former bank executives.
Chartered accountants and auditors The role of charted accountants and auditors in the practices that let to the collapse of the banking system is an obvious area in which professional accountability is demanded. In December 2010, the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board’s special investigator, the former comptroller and auditor general, John Purcell, presented negative findings against Anglo’s Seán FitzPatrick, David Drumm and Willie McAteer and the former Irish Life & Permanent finance director, Peter Fitzpatrick. But the case has been suspended pending the outcome of the criminal investigation into Anglo. All four therefore remain, for the time being, as registered charted accountants. Purcell has also investigated one
member of Ernst & Young, which was Anglo’s auditor. It is not clear whether any action which might ensure against this individual would also have to be postponed. Ernst & Young failed in a High Court attempt in May to stop Purcell’s inquiry. At that point, the investigation was said to be merely at a “preliminary stage”. A review of the audits conducted for the failed banks in 2008 (none of which reported any significant problems) is due to be completed by David Spence, an independent auditing expert, this summer.
Bank directors No action has been taken against any of the directors of the banks that laid waste to the Irish economy. Astonishingly, at the end of last year, 40 per cent of the directors who were at the helm when the crash happened were still on their boards. This included nine of the 14 directors of Bank of Ireland. Since then, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, has pledged to remove all bank directors who were in place before the bank guarantee of September 2008. But even this action may not be all it seems.
Nowhere on its lists of statutory functions is there a mention of ensuring that Ireland can punish white-collar criminals Two pre-2008 directors of Bank of Ireland, Dennis Holt and Des Crowley, resigned from the board in June, but both remain as directors of the Bank of Ireland subsidiaries, with Holt retaining a salary of €84,000 a year as chairman of the bank’s UK arm. Stephen Kingon, a pre-2008 director of Allied Irish Bank, announced his resignation but was immediately appointed chairman of Northern Ireland Electricity, which is a subsidiary of State-owned ESB which Michael Noonan, as Minister 17
for Finance, controls 85 per cent of the shares. Richie Boucher, who was instrumental in expanding Bank of Ireland’s loans to developers after 2005, is still the bank’s chief executive. He received a pension topup of €1.5 million in 2009. (There is no suggestion that any of these individuals was personally negligent.) It is open to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to seek to have bank directors disqualified for gross negligence. It would also be open to the current owners of the banks (effectively the State) to sue the former directors for recklessness. There is no sign of either of these things happening.
Clerical sexual abuse Last week, Fianna Fáil senator, Mark Daly, used Oireachtas privilege to name a priest against whom, he claimed, seven different allegations of child sexual abuse had been made to nine Garda stations. The priest, he said, has not been prosecuted, but his religious order had settled a claim for damages before it came to court. Last year, the senator claimed, this priest was advertised in a newspaper as the spiritual director for a pilgrimage abroad to a location where he could have unsupervised access to children. Prosecutions for sexual abuse are difficult and there are presumably solid reasons why the DPP has not brought charges in this case. More serious, however, is the fact that no bishop or senior diocesan administrator has been prosecuted, even though the reports on the Ferns, Dublin and Cloyne dioceses show clearly that many of them knowingly allowed paedophile priests to have continuing access to children. In 2006, the Criminal Justice Act introduced a specific offence of “reckless endangerment” of children. It states in relation to sexual abuse that anyone “failing to take reasonable steps to protect a child from such risk while knowing that the child is in such a situation is guilty of an offence”. There have been no prosecutions for this offence. Bishops and administrators also failed to report known crimes and to
co-operate fully with criminal inquiries. The 1997 Criminal Law Act provides that “where a person has committed an arrestable offence, any other person who, knowing or believing him or her to be guilty of the offence or of some arrestable offence, does without reasonable excuse any act with intent to impede his or her apprehension or prosecution shall be guilty of an offence”. In 2009, Eugene Riordan, a retired school principal in Co Cork, made a formal complaint to the Garda in relation to Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, citing findings that it was the policy of the diocese to give minimal information to gardaí investigating allegations against priests. He received a reply last October that the DPP had decided there was no evidence any offence had been committed.
Politician’s expenses In Britain, members of parliament have been sent to prison for fiddling their expenses. The amounts of money involved have been, by Irish standards, relatively small: Jim Divine, who was released and tagged this week after serving four months in jail, was found guilty of submitting false invoices totalling £8,385 (about €9,650). In Ireland, there is no evidence that any serving or current politician has committed a criminal offence in relation to expense claims. It is not in dispute, however, that Ivor Callely claimed travel and subsistence expenses from what he says was his residence in west Cork rather than his political base and home in Clontarf in Dublin. After a scathing report by a Seanad committee was thrown out by the courts, Callely continued to claim expenses for last year for travel from the Cork home. Last week, it emerged that he successfully claimed €39,875 for the last 10 months of 2010, the highest sum of any senator. Whatever opprobrium Callely may have endured has been cushioned by the payment of €229,000 in public money this year to ease his retirement and a public pension of €63,000 a year thereafter.
The Tribunals The Mahon/Flood tribunal and Moriarty tribunals have made a series of devastating findings against named individuals. None has resulted in prosecution. The builders Mick and Tom Bailey are a fairly typical example. Mick was found to have been directly involved in bribery, making large payments to Ray Burke and George Redmond. Both Mick and Tom were found to have lied under oath at the Flood tribunal and to have colluded together to give the same false evidence. Neither was prosecuted.
In Britain, members of parliament have been sent to prison for fiddling their expenses. The amounts of money have been, by Irish standards, relatively small More recently, the Moriarty tribunal found that the awarding of the State’s second mobile phone licence had been corrupted by a financial relationship between Michael Lowry and Denis O’Brien. The Taoiseach announced that he was referring the report to the Garda commissioner and to the DPP. There was a news report from RTÉ that the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) had launched an investigation into Lowry’s affairs, including his use of the 1993 tax amnesty. The Garda then dismissed this report. A spokeswoman told The Irish Times that “no investigation is taking place” on foot of the report and that only a “handful” of the Cab’s officers were examining it. Not only have there been no prosecutions, court rulings mean the taxpayer will almost certainly pay the legal bills of all of those who have been before tribunals.
IT’S CLEAR, THEN, that there has been no decisive break with the culture of impunity. There has been little accountability for the scandals that 18
destroyed both Church and State. There may yet be prosecutions, but believing so requires the triumph of hope over experience. The sense of urgency in all of this is evident in this week’s announcement by Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, of provisions to simplify complex financial evidence in trials for white-collar crimes. This is a welcome move, but a sceptic might point out that the legislation to allow this to be done was actually passed in 2001. It has taken a full decade for an obvious measure to allow juries to hear fraud cases to be implemented. It is striking, too, that many strong proposals for reform that were contained in the Fine Gael and Labour election manifestoes didn’t make it into the programme for government. Examples include powers to veto a bank’s choice of auditors and powers involving the advertisement and scrutiny of positions on State boards. Reform of company law, meanwhile, is in the hands of the Company Law Review Group, which lists the promotion of enterprise and the facilitation of commerce ahead of corporate governance and commercial probity in its mission statement. Nowhere on its list of statutory functions is there the slightest mention of ensuring that Ireland can prosecute and punish white-collar criminals. This is the same group, after all, that considered in 2007 whether there should be legislation to protect whistleblowers in banks and other companies. Its conclusion? Such legislation is completely unnecessary in our sainted isle: “One cannot say that there is any evidence of endemic failure in relation to corporate governance or its enforcement in Ireland that negatively affects the investment climate and which requires enhanced ‘whistleblowing provisions.” If such laws were enacted, “Ireland’s reputation as a lightly regulated economy would suffer”. With this official mentality, it is unlikely that white-collar criminals are losing too much sleep.
by Philip Jennings, 03 August, 2011 providing no new tax revenues to help close the budget deficit caused by reckless tax cuts and overseas wars launched during the administration of President George Bush. Despite the public’s broad support for “shared sacrifice,” the Republicans refused to close wasteful loopholes in the corporate tax system or ask the wealthy to pay one penny more in taxes as part of the deal. They even refused to end a rule that allows hedge fund managers to treat their salaries as capital gains income, permitting them to pay lower tax rates than the janitors and secretaries that work in their companies. Fearing a new financial crisis if the limit were not raised, President Obama and the Democrats reluctantly agreed to an unfair spending-cut-only plan that targets programs for the poor and working class. This shocking state of affairs has posed a dire threat to the jobs and living standards of millions of workers who are represented by UNI’s affiliates in the USA. It comes at a time when the recovery of the US economy has stalled and Republicans have launched an all-out attack on the American labour movement. In more than 23 states, some 800 legislative proposals have been introduced to repeal or restrict the labour rights of American workers, particularly its public sector workers. America’s unions and a broad progressive coalition have been fighting back and winning many of these battles. But in some states, the collective bargaining rights of government workers have been gutted – most notably in Wisconsin and Ohio. But in both those states, the fight is not over. In Wisconsin, workers and their unions have launched special elections to “recall” or remove from office six Republican state senators who voted to strip the states teachers and public employees of their union rights. The right-wing supporters of Gov. Scott Walker retaliated by forcing recall elections for three Democrats. So over the next two weeks, voters will go to the polls in nine Wisconsin cities. If the unions are successful – in spite of an advertising blitz funded by a huge amount of out-of-state money from corporate-funded interests groups – the Wisconsin senate will switch back to the Democrats. This would block any further attacks from Governor Walker and set the stage for his recall election next January. In Ohio, the labour movement collected 1.1 million signatures on a petition to stage a referendum on the anticollective bargaining legislation passed by the Ohio legislature earlier this year. Under the state’s constitution, citizens can demand a referendum on legislation they oppose
To all UNI affiliates To Members of the World Executive Board
Dear Colleagues, This week, the embarrassing spectacle of one of the richest countries in the world nearly defaulting on its debts dominated the international news. The Congress of the United States finally voted to raise the statutory debt limit of the USA’s federal government, but only after threatening not to do so for months and waiting until the very last moment to do so. In the absence of this action, America’s Treasury would have had to slash all federal payments by 40% this week to avoid defaulting on a portion of the $US 8.3 trillion in federal debt held by investors and governments all over the world. The U.S. government makes 80 million payments per month, including state pension checks for the elderly, salaries for public servants, income support for farmers, etc. A radical cut in these payments or a debt default would have plunged an already fragile US economy and perhaps the entire world economy back into a deep recession. Raising the US debt limit is normally a routine affair – it has been done more than 40 times since 1981 without controversy – after all, it simply authorizes the US government to pay its bills – for decisions taken by its Congress on taxes and spending. Unfortunately, the Republican Party, one of the USA’s two major political parties, threatened to crash the world economy to advance its extreme right-wing ideology by refusing to raise the debt limit unless President Obama agreed to adopt its policy of economic austerity. Worse, many right-wing Republicans held out for an amendment to the US Constitution to require a balanced budget each year as the price for raising the limit. This backwards policy would make every future recession worse by mandating spending cuts when economic stimulus is needed. The US labour movement denounced this undemocratic strategy for what it was – political extortion. With control of just on house of Congress, the Republicans were willing to risk catastrophe to win. Sadly, over the weekend, the Obama administration gave into the political blackmail, agreeing to a $US 3.0 trillion deficit reduction package over 10 years to secure a 2-year increase in the debt limit. Fortunately, the plan does not include a balanced budget amendment – just the promise of a vote on such an amendment (which will fail). The deficit reduction plan adopted was grossly unfair, 19
assistance of social safety net programs. Indeed, the loss of nearly a million of jobs by state and local government employees over the past year due to state-level austerity has already reduced the economic growth rate to less than 1.5% this year, suggesting that the economy is already heading back into recession. As UNI Global Union and the global labour movement have argued for the past two years, the shift of the G-20 and the OECD towards fiscal austerity since 2010 has been foolish. The policy has utterly failed in Britain and threatens to destroy the Eurozone with its application to Greece, Ireland and Portugal. With Japan also struggling to recover from two decades of deflation and the devastation of recent natural disasters, the last thing the global economy needs right now is more austerity. Leaders everywhere have forgotten the lessons of the 1930s when premature fiscal tightening prolonged the Great Depression. Once employment recovers, any long-term efforts to achieve ‘fiscal consolidation’ should be undertaken with equity. The out-of-control bankers whose speculative gambling caused the global financial crisis must pay their fair share to help spur recovery. And increased tax revenues must be part of the answer – not just spending cuts. A crucial first step to achieve this equity and to raise this revenue would be a global Financial Transactions Tax. The tax could finance public investment and job creation in the short term and deficit reduction in the long term, while discouraging a return to destructive casino capitalism. UNI calls on the U.S. government and all other governments to focus on the most immediate crisis – the jobs crisis. Massive public investment and job creation programs are needed now. Economic growth and rising wages secured by workers with collective bargaining rights are the keys to restoring balance to government finances – not reckless austerity.
if enough voters demand a vote in the next general election. The unions collected twice as many signatures as needed for this “citizens’ veto”, setting up a repeal vote in November. A full-fledged campaign is underway with polls showing a repeal of the law winning by a two-to-one margin. The unions in the USA face other battles at the national level as well. The Republicans are refusing to approve President Obama’s appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and are threatening to cut off the agency’s funding unless it reveres a ruling against the Boeing aircraft company for retaliating against one of its unions for striking -- by shifting production to a non-union facility in South Carolina. And just last week, the GOP cut off funding for the Federal Aviation Authority, forcing it to cease most of its operations (except for air traffic control). The Republicans objected to an attempt by the Obama administration to make it easier for airline workers to organize unions. The administration had reversed an old decision by the Reagan administration to unfairly count non-voting employees in union recognition elections as “no votes.” So rather than respect the democratic principle that a majority of those voting should win an election, the agency remains closed, which has led to lay-offs of tens of thousands of workers working on airport construction projects. It is also costing the government millions of dollars as airport taxes go uncollected. At a time of mass unemployment in the USA – with official joblessness at 9.2% and the unofficial rate at more than 16% -- the Republican austerity agenda makes no sense whatsoever. The jobs crisis (caused by the global financial crisis in 2008) led to the huge federal deficit, not the other way around. Budget cutting at this time is counterproductive – massive cuts in infrastructure spending and programs that help working people will not only increase unemployment and worsen the long-term financial position of the USA. Unemployed workers don’t pay taxes and require the
Wear your Union Badge
Sincerely, Philip Jennings General Secretary
Get into print! Anyone wishing to submit articles or photos to appear in the Connect journal, please, either email to:
email@example.com or post to: Imelda Wall, Communications Workers’ Union, 575 North Circular Road, Dublin 1. 20
The main union fights in the “richest country in the world” is about healthcare, as wages remain static or plummet. Technology – The business and culture of our digital lives – from the L.A. Times
But despite the shrinking landline business, the unions each suggested that Verizon hasn’t suffered much, having reported a profit of $3.2 billion in its most recent quarter and a total of $258 million paid out to five top executives over the last four years. As of Monday morning Verizon stock was down only 3%, trading at about $34 per share. “It’s no secret that the Wireline business has experienced a ten-year decline in our customer base and in profitability, despite investing billions in improving our network, processes and systems,” Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam said in a statement. “We have taken many steps to offset this decline, including reducing our workforce, increasing the amount our management employees contribute to their benefits, and even selling some of our Wireline properties.” But healthcare isn’t the only point of disagreement between the parties. Bargaining between Verizon and the two unions began June 22 and as of Monday more than 100 “concessionary company proposals remained on the table,” the Communications Workers of America said. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said giving in to Verizon’s proposed contract changes would “take much of its unionized workforce back to 1960s levels of wages, benefits and working conditions.” While the groups are at an impasse, Verizon said it has more than 40,000 managers and contractors set to step in and do the jobs of the striking employees. But leaving the labour dispute unresolved could be a major setback for Verizon, said its chief executive, McAdam. “It is clear that some of the existing contract provisions, negotiated initially when Verizon was under far less competitive pressure, are not in line with the economic realities of business today,” he said. “In fact, under these contracts, benefit costs have risen consistently even as the Wireline business has shrunk ... As the U.S. automobile industry found out a few years ago, failure to make needed adjustments -- when the need for change is obvious -- can be catastrophic.”
A standoff between Verizon Communications Inc. and about 45,000 of its employees entered a second day of strikes with no apparent end in sight. On Monday morning, Candice Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Communications Workers of America. said Verizon had been canceling bargaining sessions on Saturday and Sunday as the company’s collective bargaining agreement with its eastern U.S. landline employees expired, setting the strike and picket lines into motion. “Verizon workers are waiting for management to demonstrate that it’s ready to bargain,” Johnson said in a statement. “In fact, we’re looking for Verizon to stop canceling bargaining sessions that have been scheduled.” Workers involved in the strike come from Verizon’s landline division in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., and are represented by two unions -- the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Unions. At the centre of the dispute between the nation’s largest telecommunications company and the workers is the issue of benefits and who should pay for them -- particularly when it comes to healthcare coverage. Verizon said that most of its union-represented employees “pay nothing for health insurance premiums” and that the company “is proposing that its union-represented employees pay a portion of their health care premiums, much like the majority of other Verizon employees.” The reason Verizon says it’s asking for the striking workers to make the concessions is due to a decade of its landline business losing customers as consumers have turned to mobile phones or packages from cable providers that bundle landlines with TV service.
Verizon’s 45,000-employee strike enters Day 2, impasse widens
strengthened our show of solidarity, and boosted our case for a fair bargaining process. When our movement speaks out as one, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. But this is not the time to let up. Even with our contract back in force and bargaining beginning anew, Verizon workers are counting on all of us to stand up for middle-class jobs.
Dear Steve, Today, 45,000 Verizon workers marched into work together unified as one with their brothers and sisters and community supporters. Our collective fight for the American Dream continues.
Send these workers a message of solidarity today:
Show Verizon workers that you aren’t backing down by sending them a note today.
www.cwa-union.org/verizonsolidarity Our work is far from complete. Our strike objective from the beginning was a real collective bargaining process. Your support was essential to creating that opportunity. Now begins the hard work of negotiating a fair contract. Too many Americans don’t have the opportunity to bargain. Collective bargaining in the private sector is at historic lows, far lower than other developed countries. As these rights have slipped away, American workers’ wages have stagnated. And without rising purchasing power for American workers, our economy has stagnated. If wealthy corporations like Verizon continue to outsource jobs and hold down worker wages, there is no hope for an economic recovery. This is why our fight is your fight and why your support is so important.
In unity, Larry Cohen President
Sign our solidarity message to Verizon workers today, and we’ll deliver your comments to them.
www.cwa-union.org/verizonsolidarity Your support for our CWA and IBEW members was overwhelming. It’s what powered the picket lines, 23
CWU CHARITABLE FUND
Concern food voucher distribution, Mogadishu. Photo: Jennifer O’ Gorman, Concern, Somalia, July 2011
DONATION OF €50,000.00 WAS MADE TO SOMALIA Somalia Programme Emergency Food and Nutrition to the Civilian Populations severely affected by Drought and Conflict in Lower Shabelle, Benadir (Mogadishu) and Bay Regions, Southern Somalia August 2011 Each household received an ID card which is produced in the Concern office with a picture of the beneficiary. Beneficiaries then come to sites locally or nearby where they are given a paper voucher to take to the shops. Vendors have an agreement with Concern to honour these food vouchers.
FOOD VOUCHERS There are three ways of delivering food in an emergency: 1. Deliver food – this is very bulky, difficult logistically to distribute and also raises security issues with large deliveries that are very visible. 2. Cash transfer – this is a method that works well in some situations but raises some security issues during an emergency. 3. Food Vouchers – more efficient (not as bulky to distribute), safer (instead of moving cash) and encourage local existing markets.
Vouchers purchase items such as: • Rice • White flour • Sugar • Oil This covers 70% nutritional needs for one month 24
CWU CHARITABLE FUND Vouchers cost $60 per month for one family. Recipients of vouchers are monitored & follow up to make sure everyone purchases food. We will also monitor market prices. The food voucher system also encourages imports (from Asia & Dubai). We are beginning to introduce the food vouchers in rural areas. Encourage merchants to deliver goods to these areas and create local markets while utilising existing markets. Merchants deliver supplies straight to families or to local shop keepers. The shop keepers/merchants can then redeem food vouchers from Concern.
2) Concern’s Involvement in Somalia Concern has been working in Somalia for 25 years despite the political and social instability and constant insecurity that characterize the country. Concern is now one the biggest aid agencies in Somalia and employs almost one hundred people. The Programme operates in six regions in South Central Somalia which are: Benadir (Mogadishu), Bakool (through partner GREDO), Bay, Galgaduud, Gedo (through partner Lifeline Gedo) and Lower Shabelle. In addition to responding to recurrent emergencies in the country, Concern has been implementing a multi-sectoral programme encompassing livelihoods, nutrition, water and sanitation, and community education. While South Central Somalia has been the main location of Concern operations, a new programme was started in Somaliland in 2010.
1) Crisis summary On 20 July, the Food Security Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early warning Network (FEWSNET) officially declared that famine exists in two regions of southern Somalia: southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. The UN has warned that the current humanitarian response is inadequate to meet people’s emergency needs and therefore famine is likely to spread to all eight regions of the South in the coming 1-2 months. The current crisis is affecting nearly half of the Somali population. It is estimated that the number of people in crisis is 3.7 million nationwide and 3.2 million of these people need immediate lifesaving assistance; 2.8 million of whom are located in South Central Somalia. This is a 35% increase from 2.4 million people at the beginning of the year. Tens of thousands are already thought to have lost their lives. Lower Shabelle is the worst affected area with 250,000 people in crisis (FSNAU, July 2011). In addition, there is an urban food crisis in Mogadishu which has seen 15,300 people internally displaced to Mogadishu since 1 July. Malnutrition rates are currently the highest in the world. In the worst affected areas of southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle more than half the population is malnourished. This is compared to a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) threshold of 15% for a humanitarian emergency. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rates in these areas exceed 30% meaning one in three children is severely malnourished. More than six out of every 10,000 children under five are dying of hunger every day in these two regions. Thousands of children have already died and thousands more are likely to die in the coming weeks and months if assistance does not reach them. The famine has been caused by a combination of severe drought linked to changes in climate, conflict, rising food and fuel prices and poverty. In some areas of the South, the price of cereals and other commodities is up by 270%. This means that even when there is food available in the local markets, people are unable to afford it. The emergency is being described as the ‘most severe food insecurity situation in the world today in terms of scale and severity’. The crisis is predicted to deepen over the next six months as there is unlikely to be sufficient harvests to improve the food security situation.
3) Programme Location This programme will be implemented in Lower Shabelle Region where famine has already been declared. It will also be implemented in Bay Region where famine is imminent and in the capital Mogadishu where conflict and drought displaced persons are located.
4) Objective To save lives, reduce suffering and maintain dignity of drought and conflict affected Internally Displaced populations in Lower Shabelle, Benadir and Bay regions, Southern Somalia.
5) Activities and Beneficiaries: Food distribution through voucher system Building on Concern’s experience of distributing food vouchers to internally displaced people over the past three years, this programme intends to address immediate needs for food for 25,000 drought and conflict affected households in Mogadishu, Bay Region and Lower Shabelle - (150,000 people). We want to continue to support these families until January 2012 when the Deyr harvest is expected. Each household will benefit from a monthly ration of diverse and locally preferred food items until January 2012. With a monthly food voucher worth €47.54 beneficiaries will collect food items from food stores in their respective locations. Food items that will be available are: 25kg of rice, 25kg of wheat flour, 6 litres of cooking oil, and 10kg of white sugar. This will enhance the food security of target families in a significant way. Agreements will be entered with reliable food store owners who have the capacity to 25
CWU CHARITABLE FUND provide food items for beneficiaries. The quality and quantity of food items will be detailed in the agreement. Information on when and how to distribute will also be part of the agreement. Beneficiaries and their representatives will play key role in the selection of food stores and monitoring of distribution process. In this programme, food vouchers will be linked to our nutrition programme. Families of children and women who are admitted to the nutrition sites will benefit from food vouchers to ensure lasting and multiple impacts.
7) Monitoring: Regular visits to communities and to the programmes are carried out by Concern staff and beneficiaries and their representatives are actively involved in the monitoring process. Regular monthly and quarterly progress reports, field observations and participatory feedback from beneficiary households are part of the programme cycle. In addition, an external evaluation will take place at the end of the programme. Concern’s external evaluations are conducted by external consultants that have significant experience of the Somali context.
Beneficiaries: This programme will provide direct life-saving support for some of the most vulnerable displaced families and those that have lost everything due to famine and drought in Mogadishu, Bay and Lower Shabelle Regions.
8) Budget (summary) €50,000 from the Communications Workers Union would provide emergency lifesaving food for 1,051 families (c. 6,306 people based on an average HH size of 6) for 1 month. One food voucher costs approximately €47.54:
6) Timeframe: The programme is proposed to be implemented over a sixmonth period starting from August 2011 to January 2012.
Concern Worldwide expresses their gratitude to the CWU members for their grant of €50,000.00.
Description of item
No of Units
Cost per Month €
Number of months
Women queue at a Concern food voucher distribution programme, Mogadishu. Photo: Jennifer O’ Gorman, Concern, Somalia, July 2011
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One Direct Committee Training On the 23rd June 2011 the CWU Committee in One Direct attended a one day training session with the union, which was presented by Pat Kenny and Ian McArdle. As a company, One Direct has been through very significant changes in recent years. The union and its members have been lucky enough in that time to have had the support and leadership of a group of dedicated union members, who formed the local Branch Committee in One Direct which includes Veronica McLoughlin, Gillian Flynn, Mary Collin and Deirdre Egan. Many CWU members will recollect that One Direct was transferred into Postbank when it established its Irish operation here some years ago. As a result of which, One Direct staff found that they were no longer employed in a wholly-owned subsidiary of An Post, but were now working for a new banking operation. As a result of the transfer, the CWU sought to ensure that it had full collective bargaining rights for all Postbank staff. Following a detailed selection process by the company, the union was selected as the sole union for staff. The CWU then set about improving the terms and conditions of One Direct staff, to bring them in line with their newly acquired Postbank colleagues. After intensive and protracted discussions, the union, in conjunction with the local Committee, succeeded in improving salaries and annul leave entitlements, among other benefits. Sadly, however, this new entrant to the Irish financial services market would be short-lived as the subprime mortgage crisis became a full blown global financial crisis and, as money markets froze up, Postbank found itself without the necessary funding to become a fully functioning lending institution. On hearing this news the CWU set about lobbying government to ensure that Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihanâ€™s statement that no Irish bank would be allowed to fail would be adhered to. Sadly, however, Postbank, which was at the time the only non-toxic bank in the Irish retail market, was indeed allowed to fail, with the result that 140 jobs were lost. As a result of this, One Direct was transferred back to An Post. Since then the CWU Committee has been very active in its efforts to ensure that the transition was a smooth one and that members concerns and issues, arising from yet another major upheaval in the workplace, were dealt with. The Committee, in attending this Branch Committee training session, were keen to get a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities as Workplace Leaders within the CWU. The session covered a number of important aspects including communications, organising, workplace mapping and representation in grievance & disciplinary procedures. The participants, which included Veronica McLoughlin, Gillian Flynn and Deirdre Egan, were very happy with the content and delivery of the session and the whole experience underlines how important ongoing training is, for union representatives who are keen to be active in the workplace, with a view to ensuring that their colleagues enjoy decent working standards and the full benefit of trade union membership this kind of support is essential and will guarantee an active and successful union at the grass roots.
Pictured l to r: Veronica McLoughlin, Ian McArdle, Gillian Flynn and Deirdre Egan
hard at work!
Education Update Committee Training Dublin Postal Delivery Branch
One Direct Committee Training Athlone
May 28th Union Head Office
In attendance were: Gary Conroy Diarmuid O’Connell Tommy Donohoe Gerry Keating Declan O’Donnell Liam O’Toole Gerry Sexton John Seagrave Joe Lawless James Campbell
In attendance were: Francis Ryan Paul Hardy Brian Keane Mark Harper Sean Coultry Martin Brennan Christy Keenan BW Heffernan Gerry Kelly Charlie Sheehan
Gillian Flynn Deirdre Egan Veronica McLoughlin
Vodafone Dundalk Committee Training, July 1st & 2nd In attendance were: Pictured Front Row l-r: Rebecca Sommers Ray Lawlor (Education Committee) Michaela O’Reilly
Dublin Committee Training August 2nd & 3rd, Union Head Office In attendance were: Teige O’Leodeoin Stephen Kiernan Kirstin Feeney Mick Colgan Alan Cowzer Michael Flemming
Dublin C&A Vodafone Retail Meteor Retail Dublin C&A Dublin C&A Vodafone Retail
Back Row l-r: Emmet Carolan Declan Flanagan Michael Muckian Gerry Maher Jason Quinn
Remaining Courses for 2011 The Union continues itâ€™s commitment to upskill our activists so that they can carry out their role to the best of their ability. Our mission is to provide a high quality training service that equips CWU activists with the relevant knowledge and skills to enhance their effectiveness as Union Representatives while reinforcing the values of the Union. At the time of going to print, the following courses were scheduled for this autumn for elected activists:
Branch Secretary Stage 2 This course should be attended by Branch Secretaries who have completed Stage 1 and are in their second or consecutive term as Branch Secretary.
Committee Training various locations The Education Committee will make courses available at different venues around the country so as to facilitate Branches which have their own individual requirements for Committee training. Availability will be subject to numbers and the Branch Secretary will be responsible for attendance.
Trade Union Studies FETAC Level 5 All newly elected Branch Secretaries are required to attend this course, as well as any Branch Secretary who may not have had the opportunity to attend in the past. Those who wish to gain the accreditation will have assessments to complete. While all newly elected Branch Secretaries are required to attend the course, it will be at their own discretion as to whether they would like to avail of the certification. Where we have spaces, established Branch Secretaries will also have the opportunity to avail of this course in the future.
Equality Representatives The Equality Representative is a support role to the Branch Secretary who can assist with equality related matters such as work/life balance, statutory and non-statutory leave, disability in the workplace etc. Please see further information on the union website for the above courses.
Skillnets The CWU is actively involved in two Skillnets, the Positive 2 Work Skillnet and the Women at Work Skillnet. The Union has had activists and members sign up for courses in both Skillnets. â€œThe Positive2Work Skillnet is made up of small, medium & large companies from all sectors of the Irish Economy. This Skillnet member companies have come together to explore how the intervention of effective strategies, supported by training solutions and people development, can positively impact on the quality of employees working lives and the competitive environment within which network member companies operate.â€? See www.positive2work.ie for more details. These courses are open to targeted groups of activists within the Union. In relation to the Women at Work Skillnet, it was established in 2008 to provide customised training programmes for participants involved in the retail, financial services, communications and healthcare sectors, at no cost to those participants. This was achieved through the investment of matched funds by each Union representing their members. To date we have had members avail of Health & Safety Training, Equality and Diversity modules, Communications courses, Computer courses, training on social welfare issues and many more. Courses are open to both men and women from their unions. The courses vary from day courses to evening courses over a number of weeks. Some courses also offer a FETAC certificate. See www.womenatworkskillnets.ie for course information. Members can find out about Skillnets from Union Head Office or from a member of the education committee.
Equality Training - Disability Champions Pictured back row l-r: Carol Scheffer, National Officer CWU, Helen Fleming, Limerick Postal, Teige Oâ€™Loideoin Dublin C&A, Paul Cox, Cavan Postal and John Flynn, Dublin C&A. Pictured front row l-r: Pat Coyle, An Post Cork Outdoor, Ambrose McKenna, Monaghan Postal, Ollie Butler Navan Postal, Tom Murphy Eircom Dublin No 1 branch and Siva Kadimisetty, Dublin C&A.
The ICTU Disability Champions course was brought in-house this year with several members across the postal and telecoms sectors attending. The course was held from Tuesday June 21st to Thursday June 23rd in the Mandate Organising and Training Centre. The ICTU Disability Committee oversees the implementation of the Disability Champions project and the CWU has always played an active role. This year we mainstreamed the Disability Champion module into our equality training. In this programme we covered issues such as the role of the Disability Champion, mental health awareness, the various models of disability, as well as the relevant legislation. Speaking on the course, Carol Scheffer stated that the input of the participants was invaluable and that she looked forward to hearing from the group in the future. Later in the year we will be delivering our Equality Representative training course. This is our third year running the course which is due to be held in late September.
Paul Cox of Cavan Postal makes a point.
Ambrose McKenna from the Monaghan Postal Branch, at the course.
John Flynn, Dublin C&A Branch
Amnesty International During the training, a presentation was made by Amnesty International detailing their campaign on mental health and human rights. Katie Mannion Human Rights Officer (Mental Health) met with the training group and outlined the workings of the campaign and distributed their guide on mental health. The guide outlines the human rights of people with mental health problems. We would like to extend our thanks to Katie for her presentation on the day of the course. For more information please see the amnesty mental health campaign details on www.amnesty.ie
Congress Disability Seminar, 2011 40 Delegates from trade unions gathered at the Congress Disability Seminar in Dublin Airport on 1st-2nd April. The seminar focused on the impact of the crisis on people with disabilities and the response of the trade union movement. Deirdre Oâ€™Connor, Chairperson of the ICTU Disability Committee welcomed delegates from unions, members of the Disability Committees North and South, Disability Champions and invited speakers from various organisations working in the area of disability. Speakers were present from the NDA, KARE, the Equality Commission, the Public Health Agency (N.Irl) and See Change. Disability Champions graduates were also presented with their certificates on the day by Peter McKevitt, Chairperson of the NDA. To-date more than 140 people have now been trained as Disability Champions. 33
CWU Attends Campaign Alliance Meeting and a Showing of the “Not Natasha” Photographic Exhibition. Members were advised in our Spring Issue of Connect that the CWU had made contact with The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) in relation to the “Turn off the Red Light” campaign and the CWU is now part of the campaign alliance. The campaign’s purpose it is to create awareness about the dangers of sex trafficking and prostitution and in that regard are actively lobbying the government to implement legislation that would end the exploitation of those in the sex industry. The union was recently invited to attend a campaign alliance meeting and a private showing of the “Not Natasha” photographic exhibition which was held in Dublin on August 4th. This unique event was an opportunity for the alliance to come together and discuss the exhibition as well as the progress of the campaign. The exhibition, which featured the work of Romanian artist, Dana Popa, depicted images of victims of sex trafficking and their families. Many members of the public viewed the exhibition while it was on show and a series of events were also organised in conjunction with the exhibition to raise awareness of the issue of sex trafficking. According to the TORL website “This exquisite photographic work traces the tragically fractured and damaged lives of young girls and women caught up in human trafficking for prostitution within Europe”. The exhibition ran from July 7th and closed on August 5th and more information on the exhibition can be found on www.turnofftheredlight.ie. Once attendees had an opportunity to view the exhibition, the meeting was opened and chaired by Gráinne Healy of Marriage Equality. Speakers included Áine O’Brien, FOMACS (Forum on Migration and Communications) and Susan McKay, National Women’s Council of Ireland. A comprehensive report was also provided by the ICI on the work done to date. The Chair then opened the meeting to the floor. At the meeting Carol Scheffer gave an update on our Spring Seminar in Castlebar and how Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Nusha Yonkova was invited to attend and speak on the issue. Our thanks once again to Nusha for taking time out to come to our conference so as to raise awareness of the campaign. Several other trade unions were also in attendance at the meeting and the support of the campaign by the trade unions was acknowledged. Apart from the opportunity to view the exhibition, the meeting was an ideal opportunity to network with other members of the alliance and to hear people’s views on the campaign and its progress to date.
Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Nusha Yonkova of the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague, at the closing event of the exhibition 34
COMBINED C OMBINED SERVICES SERVICES THIRD THIRD WORLD WORLD FUND FUND (CIVIL (CIVIL SERVICE, SE ER RVI V CE, EIRCOM, EIRCOM, AN AN POST, PO OST T, & OTHER OTHER STATE ST TATE AGENCIES) AGENCIES S)
““Hard Hard T Times ime i s Come Come o Again Again N No oM More“ orre“ – th thee tititle tle ooff a S Stephen tephen Fo Foster ster bballad allad w which hic h ccould ould express express sentiments sentiments of of the the ccurrent urrent eeconomic conomic situation situation in in Ireland. Ireland. H However owever ggrim rim thee ssituation th itu tuatitioon iiss hhere, ere, iitt iiss nnothing othing aass bbad ad aass th thee ssituation ituation iinn ddeveloping eveloping ccountries. ountries. Th There, ere, hhard ard titimes mes aare re a ppermanent ermanent fe feature ature w where here cchildren hildre r n ddie ie fr from om ppreventable reventable aand nd ccurable urable ddiseases, is eas es , where w here cchildren hildren aare re ddenied enied a bbasic asic eeducation, ducation, where w here fa families milies ggoo hhungry, ungry, aand nd ppeople eople hhave av e ooften ften to m make ake llong ong jjourneys ourneys to oobtain btain a bbucket uc k et ooff w water. ater. Th Thee ssame ame w water ater ccan an ooften ften bbee ooff ppoor o r oo qquality uality lleading eading to ssevere evere hhealth ealth pproblems. roblems. D uring th ourse ooff th ear uunder nder rreview, eview, During thee ccourse thee yyear th nd, th anks to th tthee vvoluntary oluntary ccontributions ontributioonns thee Fu Fund, thanks ooff iits ts m any lloyal oyal supporters, supporters, ta ckled ssome ome ooff many tackled these th ese pproblems. roblems. While oour While ur eefforts ffforts ddoo nnot ot ssolve olve aallll pproblems, roblems, w wee ddoo m make ake a difference diffference aass fa farr aass ssome ome ccommunities ommunities and and individuals individuals are are concerned. concerned. When made thee W hen ggrants rants aare re m ade ddetails, etails, iincluding ncluding th type ty pe ooff pproject, roject, llocation ocation aand nd aamount mount ggranted, ranted, aare re posted posted on on our our website website (www.cstwf.ie) (www.cstwf.ie) as as feature aare re oour ur aaudited udited aaccounts. ccounts. A fe ature ooff oour ur aaccounts ccounts over over the the yyears ears hhas as been been the the llow ow ccost os t Fund. hass never ooff aadministration dministration ooff th tthee Fu nd. It ha never eexceeded xceeded 55% % off inc income. come. Hard titimes Hard mes aare re a fe feature ature ooff eeveryday veryday llife ife iinn ddeveloping eveloping countries. countries. W Wee th thank ank oour ur ssupporters upporte t rs forr pproviding fo roviding th thee fu funds nds to eenable nable uuss to pprovide rovid i e hhelp. elp. W Wee w would ould w welcome elcome nnew ew ssupporters upporters an andd to th this is eend nd w wee aask sk eexisting xisting m members embers to m make ak e thee Fu Fund their th nd kknown nown to th heir ccolleagues. olleagues . Details D etails ooff oour ur aactivities ctivities iinn 22010 010 aare re sshown hown iinn this thee fifinancial forr th is rreport eport iincluding ncluding th nancial aaccounts ccounts fo thee yyear. Further from th ear. Fu rther iinformation nfoormation iiss aavailable vailable fr om website. oour ur w ebsite.
Combined C ombined S Services ervicces Third Third W World orld Fun Fund nd Harcourt 76/78 Ha arcourt Street Dublin n 2 Ireland ☎ ++353 (0)1408 ( 2473/75 @ firstname.lastname@example.org thecstw email@example.com
Dur During u ing tthe he yyear ear unde underr rreview eview th thee Fund Fu und aawarded warded 6622 ggrants rants fo forr pprojects rojectss iinn 255 ddeveloping eveloping countries. countries. A Ass ccan an bbee sseen een from from th thee ppie ie cchart hart ((in in 000’s) 000’s) New N ew members members are are urgently urgently 53% 53 3% ooff th thee aamount mount ggranted ranted , needed ne eded to to help help finance finance 2208,000, 08,0000, w went ent to eeducational ducational tthe he w work ork off tthe he Fund F pprojects. rojects. Th Thee Fu Fund nd pplaces laces a hhigh igh vvalue alue oonn eeducation ducation aass itit iiss central central to Agriculture A griculture ddevelopment, evelopment, eenabling nabling ppeople eople to Health H ealth oovercome vercome ppoverty. overty. It iiss th thee ““fishing fishing rrod” od” Water W ater Community C ommunity D Development ev elopment rrather ather th than an th thee hhandout. andout. H Health ealth Education E ducation pprojects rojects w were ere aalso lso hhigh igh oonn th thee llist ist ooff Industrial In dustrial bbeneficial eneficial pprojects rojects rreceiving eceiving 24% oorr 992,000 2,000 ooff awards awards made. made. Better Better health health m akes an an important important ccontribution ontribution to makes 4.0 hhuman uman hhappiness appiness and and economic ec onomic 42.5 pprogress rogress aass hhealthy ealthy ppeople eople llive ive longer longer aand nd aare re m ore pproductive. roductive. O ther more Other ssectors ectors to bbenefit enefit fr om ggrants rants m ade from made w ere A griculture, Community Community were Agriculture, D evelopment, In dustry aand nd th Development, Industry thee 92.0 208.0 pprovision rovision ooff w ater .A rants water .Allll ooff th thee ggrants m ade w ere aaimed imed aatt m eeting th as ic made were meeting thee bbasic nneeds eeds of of ppeople eople iinn ddeveloping ev eloping 19.0 ccountries. ountries. It iiss a fifirm rm bbelief elief ooff th nd thee Fu Fund 25.3 th at iiff ppeople eople ccan an m eet th ese nneeds eeds that meet these th ey w ill ddevelop evelop th emselves aand nd th eir they will themselves their ccountries. ountries. T he rate of contributions to the Fund F from every 10 The is only 1 cent or 2 cents from of pay or pension.
Every E very C Cent ent C Counts! ounts! Thee Fu Th Fund nd ooperates perates oonn a ccompletely ompletely thee w work vvoluntary oluntary bbasis asis through through th ork ooff a Council, Trustees, Management C ouncil, T rustees, a M anagement Committee, C ommittee, an an Advisory Advisory Committee, Committee, Honorary Officers H onorary O ffif cers aand nd vvoluntary oluntary aassistance ssistance in in assessing assessing projects projects and and with withh Great taken ooffice ffif ce administration. administration. G reat ccare are iiss ta ken with money w ithh ccontributors’ ontributors’ m oney aand nd ggrants rants aare re made m ade directly directly to bbeneficiary eneficiary ggroups roups oorr oorganisations rganisations. If yyou ou are not already a member of th thee fundd or if you know someone who fun might mig ght be interested in joining, joining please contact con ntact us immediately or go to our website www.cstwf.ie web bsite www w..cstwf.ie for more information info ormation and application forms.
www.cstwf.ie www w.cstwf.ie
Photo: C Photo: Children hildren in a sschool chool cconverted onverted ffrom rom a oont oontainer ainer in a S outh A frican sshanty hanty ttown own aassisted ssisted by b ffunds unds from from CSTWF CSTWF South African
CSTWF A ANNUAL NNUAL REPOR RT T 2010 36
A Typical CSTWF Project (No. 2590) A grant of 7,500 was awarded by the Fund for the completion of a half-built school located in a new township just outside Mutare, Zimbabwe. Prior to the grant, the school operated in a make-shift tent which could only provide shelter for some of the 600 children enrolled in the school, the remainder sat under a tree. The completion of the school gives hope to the parents and teachers and provides a proper learning environment for the children.
Combined Services Third World Fund Receipts and Payments Account Year Ended 31st December 2010 Receipts
Members Subscriptions Deposit Interest PSEU Table Quiz
440,671 33 1,500
477,753 254 1,500
Excess Payments over Receipts Opening Bank Balance
Closing Bank Balance
Payments Projects OfďŹ ce Expenses TOTAL PAYMENTS
The above Receipts and Payments Account was prepared from the books and records of The Combined Services Third World Fund and I hereby report that it is in accordance therewith.
(Signed) Maurice D. Counihan FCPA 24th February 2011 CDK & Associates, Accountants & Registered Auditors, Mounttown House, Mounttown Road Lower, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. A list of contributions and grants made is available on the fundâ€™s website:
CSTWF A ANNUAL NNUAL REPOR RT T 2010 37
True Blues Support Irish Jobs James Moore, CWU Youth Committee On Sunday 26th June, members of the Youth Committee, myself included, attended a demonstration at Croke Park organised by the CWU in support of our members in Vodafone and Rigney Dolphin. The demonstration was aimed at informing members of the public about Vodafone’s decision to transfer up to 130 jobs out of Ireland to call centres in Egypt and India, and also to show Vodafone that these workers had a lot of support not just from fellow union members but the public also. The day started off with the Youth Committee meeting in Mountjoy Square at 2.30pm with other members of the CWU, including workers from An Post, eircom and Vodafone. We then split into separate groups fanning out to areas all around Croke Park. We were wearing t-shirts with the slogan “True Blues Support Irish Jobs”, handing out flyers, stickers and t-shirts to people who were attending the Dublin v Kildare GAA match. You will be aware that Vodafone are the main sponsor of the Dublin team. Most people whom we spoke to around Croke Park seemed extremely interested in what was happening, with many of them asking questions about the fate of the workers concerned and showing disgust at Vodafone for treating these workers so badly. One of the stickers that was handed out was designed to cover up the Vodafone logo on Dublin jerseys people were wearing in to the game. I have no doubt that, given the good work done and
the great response from the Dublin supporters, many of these stickers were surely visible inside the ground. Last year alone Vodafone Ireland made €120 million profit and in total has made €2.2 billion profit from the Irish market since coming here. This is mainly down to the great loyalty and support Vodafone Ireland has received from the Irish public and tax breaks they have received from the Irish government. At a time in Ireland when jobs are so hard to come by and hold on to, maybe it’s time Vodafone Ireland show the same support and loyalty to the workers who have made these profits for them? Instead Vodafone are forcing the soon to be unemployed workers to train managers brought over from India and Egypt who in turn will return to India and Egypt and train the workers that Vodafone will be giving these “Irish Jobs” to. Considering the huge profits from the Irish market there is no question that the Company needs these jobs exported! The Youth Committee was proud to attend such a worthwhile demonstration in support of our colleagues and will continue to attend as many such demonstrations as necessary in support of Irish jobs.
Caroline Corcoran, Chair of the Youth Committee said “It was great to see so many people turn out for this event and I’m really happy that the newly revitalised Youth Committee has shown such support for their colleagues in Vodafone by backing this campaign”
Youth Committee website at www.cwu.ie/activists. If you or someone you know would like more information on the Youth Committee, please contact Fionnuala at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Committee Following on from the Youth Open Day held in May of this year, the CWU Youth Committee has gone from strength to strength. Many young members who attended to event have since become active members of the group. These new activists have shown themselves to be extremely well-informed and enthusiastic, with a real sense of optimism about the work that can be done. At the first committee meeting after the event, the existing and new faces that make up the re-energised committee set to work on tackling the issues that were identified during the Open Day. The members continue to raise subjects that are felt to affect young people in and out of the workforce, also discussing local matters, political issues and social concerns. Many of these discussions take place on the popular CWU Youth Committee Facebook page and can be found in the new regular Youth Committee newsletter - Youth News. One of the stated aims of the Committee is to encourage young members to take on an active role in the activities of the union in general and this has been undertaken with real passion. You will see a report [on page x] from one member of the Committee on their experiences attending a protest in support of our colleagues in Vodafone. Other topics that the committee have covered include the Protect the Lowest Paid campaign and the Quick Service Food Alliance amongst others. Members of the committee have also set up stations in their workplaces, giving out union information and publications. This has the added benefit of real union visibility in the workplace for members and non-members alike. Understanding that all members are constantly learning new skills, the Youth Committee have organised a further training event to take place in October. The aim of this session is to arm young members with the skills needed to represent their colleagues. The two day course will start with a day designed to build confidence in presentation skills and speaking. Day two will cover Grievance and Disciplinary Committee meetings. The goal is that this training seminar will equip members with the necessary information and skills to speak up with confidence when representing themselves and their colleagues. If you would like to find out more about the revitalised Youth Committee, why not visit the Facebook page, CWU Youth Committee Ireland? You can also find the latest editions of the Newsletter on the
UNI Europa Youth Summer School UNI held its 6th Youth Summer School in Cesme, Turkey on the 22-24 June 2011. The seminar was open to youth activists from UNIEuropa affiliates, including the CWU. The objective of the seminar was to strengthen the union movement through empowering young, welltrained leaders and to bring young workers’ issues to UNI-Europa’s attention. The aims of the seminar included increasing the active participation of young people in the structures and activities of UNI Europa’s affiliates and raising the confidence of young activists. Other goals were to improve young activists’ negotiation and communication skills and to help young union members to identify their personal goals and targets. The training modules covered communication skills, presentation skills and negotiation skills. The tutor ensured that the training was very interactive and encouraged the young activists to participate regardless of their level of experience. Role plays and tasks were designed to raise the confidence of participants and case studies gave excellent practical experience for situations which any member could find themselves faced with. One of the other benefits of the event was to help activists to connect with other young union members from across Europe and compare experiences. Many people were amazed by how challenges could be so similar across various countries and surprised by the differences in laws and attitudes across Europe. On the last day all participants were able to take part in a show of solidarity with Turkish workers working in Ikea. The Turkish Union, Koop-iş Sendikasi, organised t-shirts for the young members who then walked throughout the shop, talking to staff about the benefit of trade union membership. This was followed by a photo shoot and publicity outside the store. The Turkish Union were delighted to have so many eager activists to make such a visual impact. Overall the seminar was an enjoyable and worthwhile experience and participants learned a great deal about the working of UNI and other unions across Europe.
Co-ordinating the Ikea Campaign
Enjoying the Training.
Presentation skills at Uni Youth Summer School.
The Challenge ahead for Ireland’s Youth rates of pay in particular industries to be unconstitutional is an acute manifestation of the predatory nature of industrial relations within post-celtic tiger Ireland. For our part, the Youth Committee is committed to actively supporting and participating in any action undertaken by the “Protect the Lowest Paid Campaign” and would encourage everyone else to do so. However not only have attacks on our youth come from the business and commercial elites of this country but indeed the political establishment also. Particularly galling has been the huge reduction in the social welfare payment for those under 20 who are unemployed. In defence of these actions many commentators and politicians alike have suggested that our social welfare system is too generous and therefore acts as a disincentive to work. The inference is that those who are currently unemployed are choosing not to work and to coin a phrase “are making a lifestyle choice”, however this argument does not stand up to scrutiny when you consider Ireland enjoyed an almost ten year period of what is considered full employment prior to the economic downturn. In short, when there was work, people worked, and the vast majority of those currently unemployed long for the day when they can reap not only the monetary reward of employment but the psychological and social rewards also. Until that time the real recession continues. The Youth Committee is committed to engaging with political and civil society groups in order to raise awareness, show solidarity and help drive campaigns in the pursuit of social justice for young people across Ireland and globally. The post-celtic tiger/ social partnership era is presenting strong challenges for workers and we need more young people to get involved to provide for a reinvingorated trade union membership ready to take on increasingly unscrupulous employers and intransigent policy-makers.
A recent report by Ernst & Young forecasted that Ireland would emerge from recession in 2012 with a projected growth of 1.1% of GDP. However this does not mean a return to positive growth in terms of employment creation anytime soon. On the contrary, the report suggests that it may take up to two decades to see a return to employment levels somewhat commensurate with those previously enjoyed in the years of the “Celtic Tiger”. In essense, Ireland will officially move out of recession and will endure a long protracted period of jobless growth. Such narrow definitions of what constitutes a recession clearly displays the fundamental inadequacies of current economic thought and the primacy it gives to purely mathematical models of analysis at the expense of more pertinent socio-economic models. Ask people on the streets what are the key indicators that would herald an end to the recession and few if any will talk about GDP. Instead most will cite an increase in disposable income, job security, an increase in employment oppurtunities and a decrease in those having to emigrate to find work. Unfortunately we are not there yet and the real recession is being acutely felt across Irish society. According to the latest live register figures the unemployment rate in Ireland currently stands at a shocking 14.3%. What is striking is the disproportionate level of youth unemployment in Ireland. With one in three men under 25 out of work and a burgeoning number of new graduates now unemployed, Irelands youth unemployment rate has soared to 29% and is the second highest rate in Europe. Even this figure is somewhat flattering when you take into account the numbers of young people emigrating on a daily basis. It is against this gloomy economic backdrop that our youth seek employment. Inevitably with such levels of unemployment a huge shift has taken place in terms of the power balance between employers and prospective employees, particularly in low paid industries. The recent successful high court action taken by the Quick Food Service Alliance which found the JLC system for setting
Derek Keenan, member of the Youth Committee and Dublin Drivers Branch (in a personal capacity)
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INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY FUND Official Opening of the Extension to Cill Aoibhinn, Killymard, Donegal Town
CWU members pictured l to r: Hugh Quinn, Monica Hempenstall, Breege Mulroe, Charlie Kelly, Willie McGirr, Damien Tuohy and Michael Gallagher
Members, who contributed €20,000 towards supporting the refurbishment of Cill Aoibhinn – this very worthwhile cause for the Intellectual Disability Housing Fund.
Killymard, Donegal Town, is a community home for eight people with Intellectual Disability. The construction of the extention to Cill Aoibhinn was recently completed. Grateful appreciation was extended to the CWU
Presentation of €500 made to Multiple Sclerosis in Donegal
Back Row, l to r: Hugh Quinn, Donegal, Charlie Kelly, Letterkenny, Connie Carr, eircom Donegal, Damien Tuohy, Galway, Clement Clarke, Donegal. Front Row, l to r: Veronica Gillan, Muriel Perry, Multiple Sclerosis, Monica Hempenstall Financial Officer, Brege Mulroe, Letterkenny, Pauline Mc Gee, Multiple Sclerosis 43
Union Opposes Offshoring of Jobs by Vodafone Following Vodafone’s announcement of its decision to offshore 130+ jobs from Dublin and Dundalk Call Centres to India and Eqypt, the union launched an intensive campaign against this decision. We wrote to every TD to highlight the situation and we had meetings with a number of them including An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Gerry Adams, Leader of Sinn Féin. Minister Pat Rabbitte was in contact with us and informed us he had met with the Chief Executive of Vodafone. Other features of the campaign included a demonstration outside Croke Park, details of which are contained elsewhere in the magazine in Youth News. The situation was also discussed at the ICTU Biennial Conference and extensive coverage was given to the campaign on radio stations, particularly the local radio station in Dundalk. Members of the union also engaged in a letter writing campaign to the CEO of Vodafone, along with other trade unions. One of the most disturbing featuress of Vodafone’s decision was its callous disregard for the employees of Rigney Dolphin. Rigney Dolphin is an insource provider to Vodafone and a number of the staff employed in the
Dublin and Dundalk Call Centres are Rigney Dolphin employees, although they have always been encouraged to regard themselves as part of the “Vodafone family”. Vodafone adopted a position that Rigney Dolphin Staff had nothing to do with them and where job losses occurred as a result of the offshoring of jobs to India and Eqypt, then compulsory redundancies would apply. In addition, where Rigney Dolphin Staff were to be redeployed to alternative jobs, they would receive the lower rate of pay for the job where this applied. Following the union’s campaign, the foregoing changed and as a result, there will be no compulsory redundancies and where redeployment occurs, people will get the appropriate rate of pay for the job. The situation with Vodafone once again demonstrates the downside of Ireland’s dependency on multi-nationals. At a time when the Irish economy is on its knees, Vodafone’s contribution to our economic recovery was to offshore 130+ Irish jobs to India and Eqypt and this is at a time when Vodafone are making massive profits. Multi-nationals are attracted to Ireland, due to our low corporation tax and pro-business environment. The Government needs to look again, as to whether it is appropriate to apply the low rate of corporation tax to companies who take jobs out of Ireland for no other reason other than to boost their already massive profits. It is little wonder that governments in Europe, led by the German and French, are demanding changes in Ireland’s low corporation tax arrangements when they witness the behaviour of companies like Vodafone. BY COURIER / BY EMAIL FAO: Mr Terry Delany Communications Workers’ Union Exchequer Chambers 19-23 Exchequer Street Dublin 2 Re:
Trade Mark Infringement
Dear Sirs It has come to our attention that the Communications Workers’ Union has commenced a campaign which has clearly been designed to damage the reputation of Vodafone. In particular, it appears that the CWU has created a Facebook page entitled “Vodafone Ireland – Protect our Jobs”. We enclose a printout of a page from that site which claims “They support Dublin players … so why not Irish workers?” The page incorporates an image of a Dublin GAA jersey which prominently features Vodafone’s registered trade mark as well as the registered trade marks of the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Dublin County Board 44
Vodafone Update and O’Neills. The same imagery is replicated and available for download on your website, and we enclose copy screen shots. Vodafone Group plc is the registered owner of the Vodafone name and the associated droplet device trade marks. These trade marks have been registered across the entire European Community and constitute the extremely valuable intellectual property of the Vodafone Group. We enclose, by way of example, details of our Community Trade mark number 004720901 which evidences our registered rights across classes 9, 35, 38 and 41. Your unlawful use of the Vodafone trade mark has taken place without any license or authorisation from us and constitutes infringement of our valuable registered intellectual property rights. Quite obviously the use of the trade marks in such a disparaging manner is designed to cause Vodafone material loss and damage, the full extent of which has yet to be ascertained. Vodafone will not tolerate the unauthorised exploitation of its intellectual property rights in this manner. Accordingly, you are required to provide the following written undertakings as a matter of urgency. a)
Dear ******** I refer to your correspondence in relation to Vodafone Ireland’s recent decision to offshore jobs to Egypt and India. I understand the company, which is not an IDA or Enterprise Ireland client, has announced this as a part of a review of its European operations and which will also impact on its operations in other EU Member States. I am advised, as part of this process, that the company has been in discussions with unions and its Irish Call Centre contract partner, Rigney Dolphin. The changes to Vodafone Call Centre operations will take place in late 2011 and early 2012. Minister of State Sean Sherlock TD and officials from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation have met with Vodafone. The company explained that in the current market environment, cost efficiencies are a prerequisite so as to ensure their continued ability to compete in the Irish market where they employ over 1,000 people. In particular, this includes being in a position to make major funding investments in Ireland that will be required in the future to compete in the market. Decisions of this nature are regrettable, and losing a bluechip company such as Vodafone is a huge blow. While the government regrets the decision by Vodafone, they are a private company, and not in receipt of any funding from any agency under the remit of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation. You will therefore appreciate that neither the Minister or his Department has any legal power to prevent a private company, like Vodafone, making such a decision nor there is no scope for to compel the company to reverse their decision. The Government is concerned about the job losses and about the impact they have had on the workers concerned, their families and the affected communities. I have been assured that Rigney Dolphin will work through the implications of the redundancies with their employees. I also understand that all impacted Vodafone employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer to alternative roles within Vodafone Ireland, and voluntary redundancy packages will be offered. A consultation process is now underway with all Vodafone employees affected by the decision to finalise the alternatives available. Minister Richard Bruton has also indicated that he is available to meet with the
That you will withdraw immediately all and any use of the Vodafone name and device trade marks from the Facebook page in question, the CWU website and from all other websites, printed or other materials; That you will immediately cease all other use of any name or logo containing identical or confusingly similar images or references to Vodafone’s registered trade marks; That you will not encourage or incite your members or others to use any name of logo containing identical or confusingly similar images or references to Vodafone’s registered trade marks; and That you will deliver up to us all copies of any documents or materials containing references to Vodafone’s registered trade marks.
If we have not received such undertakings from you by 1pm on Friday, 3 June 2011, we will take such steps as are necessary to protect our legitimate interests including an application to the High Court for injunctive relief and/or delivery up of the infringing items, and we will seek to fix you with the costs of any such application. Meanwhile all of our rights are reserved. Yours faithfully _____________________ Edward Traynor General Counsel Vodafone Ireland Limited
Vodafone Update Communications Workers’ Union to discuss their concerns. While job losses are sometimes unavoidable, they are the reason the Programme for Government has job creation at its core. The Government is committed to having the right policies in place that will support and grow our enterprise base in order to facilitate both job creation and job retention. The State Development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, as well as the Louth County Enterprise Board will continue to promote Dundalk and the surrounding area for industrial projects and enterprise development. The programmes supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and its agencies will be critical in achieving economic growth through promoting the export potential of enterprise throughout the country.
I would respectfully suggest that you need to exercise caution in your dealings with Vodafone and not take what they are telling you at face value. In the interests of accuracy, I want to point out the only engagement Vodafone have had with the CWU is when they informed us of their decision to offshore 130+ jobs from Dublin and Dundalk to India and Egypt. Subsequent to this, their Solicitors wrote to us threatening to bring the CWU to the High Court within 24 hours if we did not remove a picture of a Dublin Jersey from our website on which we had put a message supporting the CWU’s campaign to stop the offshoring jobs. Vodafone sponsor the Dublin GAA Teams and it appears they are more concerned about copyright infringements than they are about putting 130+ Irish people on social welfare. With reference to Vodafone’s discussions with Rigney Dolphin, their service provider, Vodafone have made every effort to distance themselves from Rigney Dolphin employees, despite the fact that these employees have always been regarded as an integral part of Vodafone’s operations in Ireland and Vodafone are now demonstrating a callous disregard for their wellbeing. You state in your letter “the company explained that in the current market environment cost efficiencies are a prerequisite so as to ensure their continued ability to compete in the Irish market”. I would point out that Vodafone have reduced their operating costs in Ireland and I would draw your attention to the following:
Yours sincerely ******** 2 June 2011-08-30
Vodafone’s Profits • • •
30th June 2011
Vodafone controls just over 40% of the country’s mobile market and has 2.38 million subscribers; Vodafone made an operating profit of €122.3 million; Vodafone paid an additional €125 million dividend to its parent during its last financial year bringing to just over €2.2 billion the amount that has been returned to the parent company; Operating costs fell by 15%; Vodafone employs approximately 1,300 people in Ireland and the accounts for the business reveal that their combined wages declined by more than 20% to €78.7 million for the last financial year; Source John Mulligan, Irish Independent, January 2011.
Mr Sean Sherlock TD Minister of State Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation 23 Kildare Street Dublin 2
Set out hereunder is a list of questions union representatives put to Vodafone Management at the meeting where they announced their intention to offshore 130+ jobs and their responses to same.
Re: Vodafone Offshoring of Jobs
Q Why is Vodafone offshoring these jobs? A Cost and Quality. Q Does Vodafone accept that customers currently receive an excellent customer service from employees in the area? A Yes.
Dear Minister, I refer to the letter issued by you to your colleagues to enable them to respond to representations in relation to the above. 46
Vodafone Update jobs from Ireland. We now have the ludicrous situation where our members in Dublin and Dundalk who will lose their jobs as a result of Vodafone’s decision are now being forced by Vodafone to train Managers who they have brought in from India in order that these Managers can return to India and train staff to enable them take jobs of Irish workers. In our view, the Government needs to reconsider whether it is appropriate to allow a low corporation tax arrangement to apply to Vodafone in circumstances where they are offshoring jobs at a time when we are going through the worst economic crisis since the foundation of the State.
Q What will happen to Rigney Dolphin employees who are losing jobs - will they be redeployed in Vodafone? A No. Q What will be the terms of redundancy for Rigney Dolphin employees? A This is nothing to do with Vodafone, it is a matter for Rigney Dolphin. Q Does Vodafone accept that they have a responsibility to Rigney Dolphin employees working in Vodafone? A Vodafone only has a responsibility to the business contract between Rigney Dolphin and Vodafone.
Q The union requested that Vodafone postpone this decision to enable all parties to engage in discussions with a view to finding alternatives that will save jobs? A No.
________________________ Terry Delany Deputy General Secretary
Q Can Vodafone guarantee the union that further work/jobs will not be outsourced? A No. Q What are the cost savings involved in offshoring these jobs? A Don’t know. A couple of weeks prior to the announcement of their intention to offshore 130+ jobs, Vodafone Management held a meeting with the staff involved in providing the customer services, which are to offshored. The purpose of the meeting was to inform staff they were doing an excellent job and they had exceeded their targets. You refer in your letter to “losing a blue-chip company such as Vodafone is a huge blow”. There is clearly a lack of understanding and a failure to grasp the magnitude of this issue at government level. Vodafone are not leaving Ireland, the offshoring of the 130+ jobs is the commencement of a process whereby Vodafone will eventually offshore an additional 500 jobs from call centres in Dublin and Dundalk and they can do this while at the same time growing their market share in Ireland and increasing their substantial profits. You state in your letter that Vodafone are “not in receipt of any funding from any agency”. It is my understanding that Vodafone were the beneficiaries of funding from the Skillsnet Programme. You state in your letter that “job losses are sometimes unavoidable”. The situation that has arisen in Vodafone is avoidable and it should be clearly understood there is no requirement for Vodafone to offshore jobs from Ireland to India and Eqypt. You state in your letter “the Programme for Government has job creation at its core”. I would respectfully suggest that job retention should also be at the core of government policy. Vodafone are beneficiaries of Ireland’s low corporation tax and the CWU is supportive of low corporation tax as a mechanism to create jobs in Ireland. In the case of Vodafone, it is clear they intend to continue to benefit from the low corporation tax, while at the same time offshoring 47
Health & Safety Update
Driving in Adverse Weather Conditions •
During periods of adverse weather the hazards that are associated with driving for work increase greatly. This is particularly true in winter especially during the darker and shorter days. The past two winters have been particularly bad with extremes of bad weather such as hail, rain and snow. These can reduce visibility and high winds, slush and ice can make vehicle control more difficult. In addition winter sun tends to be low and can cause glare. The union has been requested to advise members on how they should approach adverse weather conditions. The Health and Safety Authority have issued practical steps for driving and, with the approach of winter, we thought that it would be opportune to repint them.
See that all your vehicle windows, mirrors and lights are clear from mist, frost and snow. Snow and ice reduce what you can see, and can be dangerous to other road users as it falls off your vehicle. Check to see if you have a full tank of fuel. Take a mobile phone if you have one, but remember you could break down in a "dead area", so take warm high visibility clothing, hot drinks, food, boots, a torch and shovel as well - it could be a long walk to a phone.
If you are out on the roads in poor conditions: •
PRACTICAL STEPS FOR DRIVING IN BAD WEATHER
Generally, when driving in wintry weather:
• • • •
Use the main roads which have been salted as much as possible. Map of routes that Councils salt are normally available on their websites. Allow extra time for your journey.
Check your vehicle has been maintained/serviced and you have a good battery. Your battery has to work much harder in the winter (working lights and wipers, for example) and can fail completely with hardly any warning. Tyres have a good tread depth and are inflated correctly (including the spare). Cooling system contains antifreeze at the correct strength. Windscreen wipers and washers are working properly - in cold temperatures use high strength screen-wash. Lights are clean and working. .
• • • •
Drive according to the conditions - on treated and untreated roads. Reduce speed in poor visibility, where there is snow, or if ice may have formed. Use the highest gear possible to help keep control of the vehicle and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. Maintain larger safer stopping distances - two seconds between vehicles is for good conditions! A wet road surface means you'll take twice as long to stop, so you need to be at least four seconds behind the vehicle in front.
Health & Safety Update • • •
Use dipped headlights in poor visibility and snow, so others can see you! Use rear fog lights in poor visibility but remember to switch them off when conditions improve. Watch out for other road users, including motorbikes, pushbikes, pedestrians and children, who may also be having difficulties in the conditions.
speeding up, or changing direction all become hazardous. The trick to driving in these conditions is to be as smooth as possible. • • •
If you do break down: • • •
If you get into trouble, stay with your vehicle if possible, until help arrives. If you do have to leave your vehicle, make yourself visible to others. If you have to abandon your vehicle, give local police the details and park safely to avoid obstruction to maintenance vehicles such as snow ploughs when they are trying to treat the roads.
Drive slowly, allowing extra room to slow down and stop. It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin, manoeuvre gently, and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. To brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall, and use the brake pedal gently. If you skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly.
Advice for particular weather conditions: FOG is especially a danger in autumn and winter, and is a major cause of collisions. • •
Slow down, keep your distance, and turn your lights on in fog. Drive very slowly using dipped headlights. Use fog lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off when visibility improves. Don't hang on the tail lights of the vehicle in front - this gives you a false sense of security and means you may be driving too close. Don't speed up suddenly - even if it seems to be clearing, you can suddenly find yourself back in thick fog.
FLOODS: It is best not to enter floodwater at all - if you can take an alternative route, do so. If you enter floodwater: •
Drive slowly in first gear, but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch - this will stop you from stalling. Go through the water one vehicle at a time. Avoid the deepest water, which is generally near the kerb. Don't attempt to cross if the water seems too deep. Watch others! Remember - test your brakes a few times after you are through the flood before you drive at normal speed.
REMEMBER: • •
ICE, SNOW and SLUSH drastically reduce the ability of your tyres to grip the road, which means that slowing down,
Be sure to give cyclists and motorcyclists extra room in bad weather. Dazzle from the low winter sun can be dangerous. Carry a pair of sunglasses in the car just in case it's too low for the visor. It takes twice as long to stop on a wet road as it does on a dry one, and up to ten times longer in icy conditions.
William Wright Retires A social and presentation was held in Longford to mark the retirement of Willie Wright,on the night of the 28th May 2011. Willie retired from Eircom on the 24th May 2011. He was joined in the celebrations on the night by members of the Longford section CWU and the many colleagues he encountered throughout the country in the light of his work. A large contingent from his family were also present on the night. Willie was a life long supporter of the CWU and held various elected roles in the union, comittee member, section secretary for 23 years. He served on the NEC (94-95) was a regular at conferences and seminars. The large attendence on the presentation night was testament to the service he gave to the members of the CWU and it was only fitting that the Longford section were able to show their appreciation for the work he done throughout his career to promote the union. We wish Willie well in his retirement and we are content in the knowledge that we can always call in on him in the future, as he has assured us he will stay in touch.
CWU cake which was made by Willie's sister Anne Howard
Section Chairman Brendan Bannon, Willie Wright, Section Secretary Gerard Bourke District Branch Secretary Paddy Matthews presenting the Union Scroll and Badge to Willie Wright
Gerard Bourke making a presentation on behalf of the Longford Section Willie Wright speaking to the guests 50
“What’s the craic Barack”? Noel Russell, Birr/Roscrea Postal Branch, reflects on President Obama’s memorable visit to Moneygall The visit of President Barack Obama to Moneygall, on the 23rd May 2011, has certainly put the tiny Co. Offaly village on the world map and “ changed the village forever” says CWU member Noel Russell, of the Birr/Roscrea Postal Branch. Operating out of Birr DO, Noel does the daily mail collection in Moneygall as part of his collection route. The visit, says Noel, “gave a great boost to the village”, which is still festooned with Irish and American flags down the main street. Ollie Hayes’ bar is also decorated with flags to celebrate its most famous customer ever! A little further down the main street is the Obama Cafe, while just around the corner a house has been painted in the image of the American flag. Just across the road, you can buy postcards and t-shirts inscribed with slogans such as, “What’s the craic Barack” and “Is Feidir Linn”. Noel, who hails originally from Ballyskenach, but is now well settled in Birr, has noticed a huge increase in postcards sent from Moneygall, since the visit of the 44th President of the United States to the “ancestral home” of his great, great, great grandfather. Security-wise, the only post box, located outside the local Post Office, was sealed on the Friday before the visit and re-opened on Tuesday, so unfortunately Noel never made it on the day. “However”, says Noel, “there was a great buzz about the place in the build-up to the visit and there is still a steady stream of visitors to the village.” Long may it continue....
Three Dublin No. 1 members retire after 131 years service!
Pictured from l to r: John Egan (Branch Secretary) Barney Gallagher, Cecil Dean, Jerry Timmins, and Willie Meegan (Branch Chairman)
and retired from the Service Assurance Field Force. Branch Secretary, John Egan, said that Barney, Cecil and Jerry had always been loyal members of the Branch and he thanked them for their support over the years. John also presented them with Union Scrolls, in recognition of their service to the CWU, and wished them and their families a long and happy retirement. And so say all of us!
Two of the Dublin No. 1 Branch’s longest serving members, Barney Gallagher and Cecil Dean, (over forty-six years’ service) and Jerry Timmins (a mere “boy” with 39 years service), joined forces at the Terenure Inn, Dublin, to celebrate their recent retirement from eircom. The three lads were joined on the night by their many friends and colleagues from eircom and the CWU for a great farewell bash. All three had joined the old Post Office Engineering Branch as Technician Trainees,
Peter Sheehan Retires
Peter Sheehan, who retired as a postman from Gorey DSU, is pictured with his wife, Rose, and work colleagues in Gorey. Peter retired in May 2011, after 10 years service and membership of the union.
Eddie Crawford Retires
Pictured receiving his presentation l to r: Martin Patton (DSM), Eddie Crawford (Retired), Michael Gallagher (Branch Secretary) and Paul McGinley (Social Club). He followed in his father Hughie’s footsteps who had delivered in the area before him. The Crawford’s have delivered the post in the Lifford area for nearly 60 years. The Lifford/Inishowen Branch would like to wish Eddie a long and happy retirement.
A presentation was made to Eddie Crawford by management and staff on the morning of his retirement. Eddie’s last day was on Friday, 29th July 2011 after 37 years of loyal service to the CWU and An Post. Eddie delivered the post in the Ballindrait area of Lifford, Co Donegal for over 20 years. 53
Snooker Award for Tom Gleeson
Nenagh Postman, Tom Gleeson, received his award after competing in the European Masters Snooker Championship in Sophia, Bulgaria. The former Irish amateur snooker champion lost out in the semi-final to eventual winner Englandâ€™s Steve Judd by 5 Frames to 2. Tom had to win ten matches to progress that far and although disappointed on his overall form in the competition he said that with a little bit of luck here and there he could have very well been crowned European Champion.
Patrick Kennedy Retires Patrick Kennedy, Donegal South-West Postal Branch, has retired after 29 years service.
Pictired from l to r: Paul Crawford (Chairperson, Donegal SW), Patrick Kennedy (Glenties) and Hugh Quinn (Branch Secretary)
Battle of the Counties! Pictured l-r: Leinster man, Tony Harmon and Munster man, Charlie O’Neill, battled it out over the Heineken Cup, when it came to Headquarters. Rumour has it this will be the closest a Munster man will come to holding the Heineken Cup!!!
Michael Guilfoyle, eircom – now “Mayor of Ennis” Michael Guilfoyle joined P&T in 1974 and transferred to Telecom Eireann in 1977. He became a Town Council Member in 1985, then Chairman in June 1988/89 and again in 1991/92. From 1985 to 2004, Michael served in the Town Council. In 2004 he was defeated by 12 votes but was re-elected in 2009. He now serves as Mayor of Ennis Town Council, following his election in June 2011. Michael is held in high esteem by the citizens of Ennis and all his eircom colleagues.
Jim Tyrell Retires Jim Tyrell has retired from the Kilkenny Branch, after 36 years service.
Pictured l-r: Making a presentation to mark Jim’s retirement is Thomas Deegan (Secretary) Seán Morrissey (Treasurer), Jim Tyrell and Paddy Barry (Chairman) 55
Sligo District Branch Retirements Letterkenny Section
Pictured l to r: Dan Harnett, Section Chairperson Letterkenny, presenting the CWU Retirement Scroll to Mr Ian Latta, who left the company from the Service Assurance Business unit.
Photo shows: Sean Martin Team Manager (centre) making a presentation to Martin Cawley (left) & John Henderson (right), on the occasion of their departure from the Plan/Design Team in the North West Team.
Pictured l to r: Pat Molloy Donegal Section Social Club Chairperson, presenting Ian Stewart with his CWU Retirement Scroll on the final day of service in July this Year.
Pictured l to r: Dan Harnett Section Chairperson Letterkenny, presenting the CWU Retirement Scroll to recently retired Johnny McCafferty CTL, in the Service Assurance Network.
Pictured l to r: Dan Harnett Section Chairperson, Letterkenny, presenting the CWU Retirement Scroll to Mr Lexie Duncan, who left the company from the Service Assurance Business unit. 56
Recent Retirements in Plan & Design – Sligo North Region
Pictured above at presentation on retirements of Martin Cawley (33yrs), Sligo, and John Henderson (38yrs), Letterkenny. Front Row l-r: Seán MacIntyre, Damien McKeon, Martin Cawley, John Henderson, Seán Martin and Jerry Melly. Back Row l-r: John Jinks (rtd), Joe Greene, John McGowan (rtd), Martin McGarry, John Malone, John Scully, Seán McBrearty, John C Quinn, Jimmy Boyle and Michael Hoban.
Naas Postal Branch Retirements Willie McConn & Patrick Dempsey Pictured on the left, l to r: Willie Mc Conn from Newbridge DSU being presented with the Union Scroll by Emmanuel Cassidy, Branch Secretary and National Executive Council.
Patrick Dempsey from Carberry Post Office pictured with his colleagues on his retirement.
Jerry Long’s Retirement Party
Front Row l-r: Mick Sheehan, Eileen Curtin, Joe McCarthy, Jerry Long, Bertie O’Leary. Middle Row l-r: Pat McCarthy, Neilly O’Mahony, Mick Browne, Thady Brosnan, Denny O’Sullivan, Denny Buckley, Donie Kelleher, John O’Keeffe. Back Row l-r: Timmy O’Leary, Mike O’Sullivan, Sylvester Murphy, Paudie Hickey, Genie McSweeney, John Murphy, Owen O’Sullivan, John D. Murphy, John O’Sullivan, Tim O’Callaghan.
Jerry Long’s retirement party was held in Knocknagree, organised for him by his team mates and colleagues. Jerry worked for 37 years in eircom, mainly in Cork County (HQ: Millstreet) and experienced all the technologic changes that occurred during those years. His friends and colleagues wish him all the best in the future.
Pictured l-r: Bertie O’Leary, Jerry Long & Sylvester Murphy.
Pictured l-r: Sylvester Murphy makes a presentation to Jerry Long
Pictured l-r: Ti m O’Leary pres ents the Union Scro ll to Jerry Long
John Haide, Cahir Post Office, Retires
Pictured are the staff of Cahir Post Office, taken recently at a retirement party at Cahir House Hotel for John Haide, who retired on 31st May, after spending 44 years with An Post.
Westport Postman meets President McAleese Joe Sheridan, Westport Postman and Branch Secretary in Westport Post Office, met President Mary Mc Aleese on his route in Aughagower, Westport. President Mc Aleese was following the Tochar walk from Ballintubber to Croagh Patrick, which traces the footsteps of St. Patrick on his way to the Reek.
Aughagower is a beautiful heritage village five miles outside Westport with a rich historical past.
Joe Champ Retires Friends and colleagues of Joe Champ recently convened at the Teachers' club in Dublin to celebrate the occasion of his retirement. Joe pictured above on the night, with his great friend and fellow manager at the RLO DMC Cathal Ryan, has retired early in great health and full of vim and vigour. Joe has been a loyal union member for 38 years through thick and thin and we wish him and his family all the best for the future. Good luck Joe and don't be a stranger!
Kieran Murphy, R.I.P. Kieran, who passed away on the 23rd April 2011, aged 62 years, was a popular and quick-witted character who was held in high esteem by his work colleagues in Tullamore. Kieran started work on Pilkingtons Farm and then Bridges Garage, both in Birr, before going on to join the P&T engineering branch in Birr. Kieran Murphy, pictured on his In 1981 Kieran moved last day of service with eircom, from Birr to Tullamore, in the AEH yard, Tullamore, working from the P & T August 2007. Area Engineering Headquarters (AEH) in Spollenstown. He quickly settled in and became very involved in the AEH GAA team, eventually becoming Team Manager. The pre-match team talks and bantering became the stuff of legend. Kieran was a lifelong Gaelic games follower in both codes, following with dedication his home club, Sier Kieran’s (Hurling), and his adopted club, Walsh Island (Football). He was an immensely proud man in 2009 when his 3 sons were part of the Walsh Island Intermediate Team that won the county title.
Pictured l to r: Paschal Sweeney, Paschal Harrison, John Heenan, Kieran Murphy, Larry Guinan, Gerry Galvin and Andy Poole. The photo was taken on Kieran’s final day of service in Tullamore AEH, August 2007.
Kieran also had a keen interest in farming. The high regard in which Kieran was held was clearly evident at his funeral. The church was unable to hold the many friends, neighbours, GAA members and work colleagues who turned out to bid him farewell. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his wife Patricia, sons Ronan, Clive and Dean, daughters Lorraine and Ciara, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and extended family members. Bealtaine Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam. 60
Brendan Shorthall, R.I.P. Looking back over 48 years work in the Post Office, my warmest memories relate to the period when I was active in Union affairs. I derived great satisfaction from being part of a team which, over the years, helped bring about real improvements in pay and conditions for postal workers. During my time in the P.O. I was involved in the one and only national strike authorised by the National Executive Council of the Union, our Branch was never involved in an unofficial strike. That is, I think, testimony to a Union that was reasonable and responsible. However, we found that reasonable stances were often not reciprocated by managements, which were basically hostile to the Union. We were enjoined by Government and the Congress of Trade Unions always to talk and negotiate, but when we did make reasonable representations, perhaps about working conditions in a particular office, we were often fobbed off with promises or sometimes virtually ignored. In such situations where we considered the health or safety of our members were at risk, we issued ultimatums – put the matter right or we will refuse to work in the area in dispute as and from a particular date. Then we would see a flurry of action and the problem would be quickly resolved. So jaw jaw didn’t always work sometimes we had to threaten war-war. Following the break up of the Department of Post and Telegraphs, An Post were now in the driving seat. New management, new systems and new thinking prevailed. One of the first acts of An Post was to dismantle the local Consultation Council in Dublin. At this Council management met Union representatives on a monthly basis to discuss future developments in the P.O which might affect the staff in any way. This was designed to avoid misunderstandings and possible confrontation in the future. Having abolished this forum, An Post proceeded with their new plans, their idea of consultation being to tell Union reps that they would be embarking on a new procedure, a new system, on a certain date and that’s your lot! Sometimes they didn’t even bother to do this and staff members were often made aware of new services by members of the public! Of course, when Union representatives were ignored and insulted in this way, they were understandably annoyed and the staff who elected them were equally angry. I would have thought that, in such a labour intensive industry, management would have gone out of their way to form a real partnership with their staff, all working in a joint effort to make An Post a viable, profitable company. When I was retiring, after forty eight years’ service, I made reference to the demise of the Consultation Council at a presentation that was made to me. I said that poor relations with management were due in part to the abolition of the council. Members of management presented me with a beautiful table lamp and then melted away like snow on a warm spring day.
It was with great sadness that the Union heard of the death of Brendan Shortall on the 22nd June 2011. Brendan was a lifelong Union member of the Dublin Postal Clerks Branch where he served on the Committee and as Branch Chairperson and Branch Treasurer. He represented the Branch at many conferences over the years where he spoke with eloquence on a wide range of subjects. To his wife Breda and children Ciara and Niamh we offer our deepest sympathy. Brendan Shortall was a Post Office Clerk a staunch union supporter and a great family man as can be seen from his book Milestones. Brendan was interested in politics, current affairs and writing. He has written two books, a short novel and an autobiography. The following is an extract from that book based around his working life: I recall one day, while being trained in the sorting of letters, a man thrusting a form in front of me. Sign that, he said. What’s this? I asked. You’re joining the Union he said, everybody does. I duly signed and returned the form without question. I’m glad to say that the present day recruitment procedures are a little more sophisticated. Some years later I was approached by the Branch Secretary of the Union, Tadgh O’Sullivan, who told me that the Branch Treasurer was retiring from his position and that he was looking for a replacement. He asked me would I be interested. I felt it would have been churlish of me not to help Tadgh, a young man who had revitalised the Union and played a big part in securing real improvements in our wages and conditions. I recall a headline in an evening paper announcing a rise of 33.3% for P.O. clerks! So I soon found myself working with Tadgh and Ned Fitzgibbon, our Chairman, attending monthly Branch meetings to tackle matters of concern to our members. I enjoyed working with Ned and Tadgh, both men were rocks of sense and clearly committed to the common good. Noel Coughlan was another tower of strength, a man who served on a committee and went on to become Chairman of our Branch. With my past experience of the Parcel Office and my consequent illness, I was always keen to ensure that all our members enjoyed good working conditions – good lighting and ventilation, adequate heating and, of course, cleanliness in our work places. As a Branch Officer I was entitled to attend our Annual Conferences and these were enlightening experiences for me. At these three day conclaves delegates from all over the country gathered at a chosen venue to debate the issues of the day and to propose courses of action to be pursued by our National Executive. At a special Conference in Dublin there was a debate about the recruitment of an extra officer to Union Headquarters. Some Delegates wanted the new officer to be selected from the Union membership, others wanted the position advertised to the general public. The debate was going on at some length when a girl rose to propose that a female be recruited to fill the post. There were already three male officers at H.Q. and this, she said, would go someway to correct the gender imbalance. This suggestion provoked some heated arguments until a male delegate, a postman from Crumlin, if I remember correctly, made his way to the microphone. It was clear that he was rather irritated at the turn the debate had taken. What we should be looking for, he said vehemently, is the best person for the job. I don’t care if we get a male, a female or a transvestite (sic), so long as the job is well done! The hall exploded into laughter and Conference subsequently agreed to advertise the vacancy for open competition.
Books reviewed by Adrienne Power MY LITTLE LIGHTHOUSE by Peter McCluskey (Available through his website www.petermccluskey.com ) Paul Rickman takes a long earned cycling holiday in Wales from his Software Company, Rickman Software. The unimaginable happens when both Paul and his wife Colleen are struck by lightning while in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Paul takes the brunt of the strike and ends up in and out of a coma which causes amnesia. Not only have the family to deal with Paul’s devastating illness, there is also the problem of his company about to launch some new software and he is the expert on it. His grown up son Jon and daughter Margo, have to step in to run the business in his absence. The entire future of the business rests on the successful launch of the new software package. The novel is told through multiple viewpoints of the family and the doctor, also with a mix of media commentary throughout. The most fascinating part for me was the viewpoint of Paul while in a coma state when he enters the strange world of the Lighthouse. I loved the symbol of the lighthouse as a beacon of safety through the horror of forgetting who you are. There are so many important themes in this book. The idea of a work life balance. Not to let work take over your life, but to make time for family. How important the people closest to you are in times of crisis! The toll it takes on the family when someone is long term ill! All proceeds from the sale of this book go to Crumlin Children’s Hospital. Peter is a long time union member. This is his third book.
Thought-provoking family drama THE SMALL HAND by Susan Hill Susan Hill is best known for her gripping Victorian Ghost Story, "The Woman in Black". The Small Hand is another of her ghost stories and begins with an atmospherically descriptive first chapter when Antiquarian Bookseller Adam Snow gets lost on the way to a client’s house and finds the old dilapidated “White House”. He is peculiarly drawn to investigate this old house with its long forgotten garden and as he stands on the doorstep he feels the unmistakable presence of a child’s hand slipping into his own. From that moment on Adam becomes increasingly haunted by the experience and so begins the mystery of who the ghostly child was and what is the terrible story behind the house known as the “White House”. This is a lovely small compact volume. The book itself grabs hold of you from the very first word just as much as the invisible child grabs hold of the character Adam Snow.
A gentle chillier and a little gem of a book 62
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Published on Sep 27, 2011