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MANDATE NEWS Issue 8, Summer 2011


E S I N A G R O OW! N | email:

Contents Straight Talking with John Douglas Post Election Analysis The Left is Loud and Clear Hard-fought battle to restore National Minimum Wage Croke Park deal works for the public – not just public servants The Fine Gael/Labour Programme for Government 2011 Organising Organising Down Under Campaigns Claiming Our Future Ideas Reducing Income Inequality Domestic Workers Demand their Rights Wages Battle underway for thousands of Workers This Summer choose a Fair Hotel! A Debt Too Far


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Activist Profile Sandra Stepelton Workers of the World Wisconsin 2011 – a defining moment in U.S. labour history? Unions respond to Japanese Crises ‘Stitching’ a Decent Living Wage for Asian Garment Workers 3rd UNI Global World Congress Breaking Through Bahrain trade unionists oppressed by Government crack down


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Miscellaneous Mandate Ezine & Social Networking info Mandate Gaeltacht Scholarships Mandate Membership Services & Benfits

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The Wall Quiz Caption Competition Crossword/Sudoku Jokes

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Training Women at Work Skillnet shortlisted for the AONTAS Star Awards 2011 14 Amended Training Programme 2011 15 Industrial Relations Connolly’s Shoes Workers Still Standing Tall After a Year on Strike Labour Court comes out in favour of Laura Ashley workers Blanchardstown Threat Averted Tribunal finds Mandate member unfairly dismissed due to long term sickness

MANDATE NEWS credits: Editor: John Douglas, General Secretary, Mandate Designed by: Language

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

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Straight Talking with John Douglas

The Jury’s Out ! Mandate members and their families embarked on a very successful election campaign in which they identified the key issues at home and at work which had the greatest impact on their wellbeing. Our election campaign certainly had an impact on the election results with more broad left candidates elected than ever before. Although the Labour Party in its wisdom decided to enter coalition with Fine Gael, the balance in the Dáil is such that “fairer” results for workers and working families should now be possible. Already we have seen the present Government deliver on the restoration of the Minimum Wage from July 2011 – a key campaign issue for Mandate. We are closely watching the Government’s review of the Joint Labour Committees’ Wage Setting Systems which covers over 200,000 lower paid workers in retail, restaurants, hotels and cleaning – in particular we are watching what the present Government will do on Sunday Premiums and overtime rates. We in Mandate will not stand idly by while the Government gives back the Minimum Wage with one hand and removes Sunday Premium rates with the other hand.

The fortunes of Ireland will not be reversed by kicking the most vulnerable in our society while protecting the powerful and the wealthy in Ireland, Germany and France. The world and its mother knows that Ireland will not be able to meet the terms of the IMF/EU “Bailout” agreement and the sooner we deal with this reality the faster we can start rebuilding fairer society for all citizens.



The present Government has two choices, it can roll over to the IMF and the European Central Bank and support an attack on workers’ wages and conditions not only in Ireland but in Greece and Portugal or it can support working families and the right of all citizens to a decent living. The first 100 days of the new Government have been less than spectacular even allowing for the mess it inherited. Their “100 days” Jobs’ Budget would not instil one with confidence that they have the ability or the vision to take the radical steps needed to get the 400,000 unemployed back to meaningful decent work.


John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Post Election Analysis THE LEFT IS LOUD AND CLEAR During the final days of Election campaign 2011 political commentators were getting excited at the prospect of an overall majority for Fine Gael which would have enabled that party to have formed a Government all on its own. However, when the votes were actually counted this did not turn out to be the case and the Left got its highest ever vote in Ireland with over 40% of the people voting that way – an increase of almost 30 points since the 1980s.

protecting social welfare benefits, legislating for collective bargaining rights and access to healthcare. In order to assist members and their families to engage with candidates and canvassers a range of colourful campaign materials were produced – such as the MANDATE Doorstep Challenge, an “If you want Our Vote” poster and a “Make your Vote Count” flyer.

Every party proclaiming progressive policies benefited hugely from the massive swell of anger expressed by the voting public. Labour, Sinn Féin, the United Left Alliance each attracted votes at record levels. So was this result a fluke, a kick back against the worst Government the State has ever seen or was there something else going on? The truth is that the final outcome was a mix of a number of different factors but without a shadow of doubt, the work done by progressive organisations – like trade unions – had a major impact. MANDATE Trade Union made its contribution in a number of different ways. Firstly, the union ran a strong campaign to ensure that as many of its members as possible were registered to vote. Secondly, through a special edition of MANDATE News members were made aware exactly of what each party was offering workers and what voting for the different party might mean to them, their work colleagues, their families and friends. Thirdly, the union issued a viral video far and wide – as well as a media statement – encouraging its members to vote for parties and independent candidates from the broad political left whose policies and values are based on the principles of social solidarity and equality. This advice was based on an assessment of the manifestos, policy statements and track records of the political parties and independent candidates in relation to protecting and creating jobs, restoring the National Minimum Wage, protecting wage rates and conditions, MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

The union’s decision to politically engage its membership was a departure from tradition brought about by the extraordinary circumstances facing the country. The National Executive believed that it was vital to ensure that the voice of ordinary workers was heard loud and clear in the Dáil as well as in Government. What emerged after the election was a coalition Government with strong Labour representation and an Opposition with a strong input from a reinvigorated Sinn Féin as well as the United Left Alliance. Hopefully, these advocates of a progressive agenda will deliver for our members and their families over the period ahead.


Hard-fought battle to restore National Minimum Wage The one euro per hour reduction in the National Minimum Wage – from €8.65 to €7.65 – was perhaps the most regressive, mean-spirited and counterproductive measure which the last Government forced through the Dáil in its dying days. After months of intensive campaigning – by MANDATE Trade Union and many other organisations – the new Government announced on the day of its Jobs Initiative that it would be introducing legislation to restore the national minimum wage rate to €8.65 an hour on 1 July next.

Coalition Campaign

Brian Forbes said that the highlight of the pre-election campaign was getting so many candidates to sign a pledge declaring their opposition to the measure. “The Workers’ Roll of Honour – which was read out in front of the Dáil in a colourful ceremony before the election – included over 153 candidates who pledged to reverse the cut to the Minimum Wage within six months of taking office, and to ensure that the Government’s review of the JLC system was fair and transparent.”

Mandate’s official in charge of campaigns, Brian Forbes explained to Mandate News that when the last Government announced its intention to go ahead with cutting the Minimum Wage last November, a number of organisations – including MANDATE, SIPTU, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, The Poor Can’t Pay Campaign, The Community Platform, UNITE, The National Women’s Council of Ireland and the European Anti-Poverty Network – came together and pledged to fight until the measure was reversed.

“The Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid was set up late last year and quickly ensured that the Minimum Wage cut became one of the deciding issues in Election 2011. In this context, it was vital that thousands of Mandate members and other activists raised the issue on the doorstep with canvassers and candidates of all parties. After this persistent lobbying the then Opposition parties committed themselves to reversing the reduction in the Minimum Wage should they be elected to power.” 5

Davenport Hotel However, as Brian Forbes points out, those of us who were campaigning against the reduction in the Minimum Wage had suspected all along, there were employers out there who couldn’t wait to impose the brutal pay cuts on their staff. First up was the Davenport Hotel owned by the O’Callaghan Hotels Group. While former Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan TD, had solemnly declared that the new rate would only apply to new contracts of employment, management at the Davenport Hotel were demanding that their staff sign new contracts which would reduce their wages to the new lower Minimum Wage rate of €7.65 per hour. MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

“The majority of these workers were foreign nationals with varying levels of awareness of their rights. However, five women threw a spanner in management’s plan when they refused to sign the new contracts with the lower wages. The five women, who work in the hotel’s accommodation section, were then taken off the payroll and issued with a letter giving them seven days to agree to the wage cut or be considered to have resigned.

The matter came before the Labour Court which strongly recommended that the operators of O’Callaghan Davenport Hotel reinstate the five women on strike at the hotel on their old minimum wage rate of €8.65 and pay the women back wages that they would have earned had they not been removed from the payroll by the hotel.

Key Role of Trade Unions The Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid hailed the Labour Court’s decision as a major success with Siobhan O'Donoghue, Director of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland commending the bravery and heroism of the workers involved: Raisa Jonaitiene, Regina Balciuniene, Ingrida Balciuniene, Grazyna Ziemer and Jolita Vallisiene.

General Secretary, John Douglas at Day of Shame protest

“Their union, SIPTU, served strike notice on the Davenport Hotel on 9 February and strike action commenced a little over a week later on Friday, 18 February. O’Callaghan Hotels – owned by millionaire developer Noel O’Callaghan – eager for confrontation sought an order from the High Court to make sure that only six picketers at a time – including the workers concerned and their trade union officials – could be on the picket. However, this proved to be a very weak attempt to break the strong public support for the workers.” MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

“Already struggling on the minimum wage to make ends meet, these women took enormous risks to their own and their family’s livelihood to stand up for what was right. If that’s not heroic, I don’t know what is. This is also a tremendous victory for SIPTU and the trade union movement who are organising and standing with the lowest-paid workers. This victory will help more workers recognise the importance of joining a trade union and participating collectively to have a strong voice in the work place.” Our own union’s General Secretary, John Douglas, emphasized the role of trade unions to tackling such exploitation by calling on all union members to support the Fair Hotels’ campaign to ensure that hotels like the Davenport don’t benefit by undercutting their competitors who treat their staff fairly.


CROKE PARK DEAL WORKS FOR THE PUBLIC – NOT JUST PUBLIC SERVANTS Sharon D’Arcy works in a Dublin hospital. Back in 2009, she lost almost 15% of her take home pay to new taxes and levies including the so-called ‘pension levy,’ which cut wages across the public service. Since then her pay has again been cut by another 7%. And, like others on low or modest incomes, her purse was picked in the last budget with its universal service charge and other new taxes and charges. When the pay cuts hit, Sharon’s was the only income in the €600-a-month home she shared with her sister and young nephew. Mandate members earn a lot less than the average public servant. But very few public servants get the big salaries we read about in the papers. And, if you’re struggling on a low income, the impact of pay cuts and tax hikes is the same.

“I can’t buy myself clothes or go out with my friends at the weekend. I don’t drink much, but I like an odd glass of wine. The Friday night luxury of a DVD, a curry and a bottle of wine? That’s gone. Even to bring my nephew to the pictures is a struggle."

“There was a terrible amount of anger at first, but now it’s turned to fear. I’m worried about the postman coming the next day. I’m worried if I can’t pay a bill. It’s a very frightening thing to be afraid and anxious with a knot in your stomach every morning. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling,” she says. This was the background to last year’s negotiations on the ‘Croke Park’ public service agreement. Unions like IMPACT wanted to prevent any more pay cuts for people like Sharon. And, while we knew that public service numbers were going to be savagely cut because of the recession, unions also wanted to head off the threat of compulsory redundancies. Meanwhile, our members in hospitals, schools and local authorities also wanted to see vital public services protected – as far as possible – as budgets and staffing fell.

Ordinary worker hit by cuts and levies, Sharon D’Arcy


MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

That’s the thinking behind Croke Park: Protection for public services and the people who provide them. It aims to save taxpayers’ money while ensuring that services are preserved – and in some cases expanded – as spending and staff numbers fall.

The Fine Gael/Labour Programme for Government 2011

The number of public servants will continue to fall, even though 16,400 have already gone in the last two years. This is currently saving at least €900 million a year – on top of annual savings of €1.8 billion from the pension levy and pay cuts.

The Programme for Government has set out the plans and promises of the new Fine Gael/Labour administration over the coming five years. But what does it mean to us?

The Croke Park agreement is about reforming public services so that they can cope with the biggest staffing cuts ever seen. In exchange for commitments on pay and compulsory redundancies, the deal demands big changes in working conditions – and the threat of further pay cuts remains if public servants don’t deliver. Staff can be moved by up to 45 kilometres as management re-organises services to cope with staff cuts and the rationalisation of big employments like VECs. Thousands have already changed jobs following HSE redundancies and other major changes. Teachers are working more hours. Many prison officers and hospital staff have accepted new rosters with reduced earnings. Local authority staff are dealing with emergencies, like the winter freeze and spring’s gorse fires, with 18% fewer staff than they had two years ago. Longer working days have been introduced in some areas and will extend to others. Many workers are taking on new jobs – often in different places – as local services are centralised to save money. And there’s more of the same on the way.

Here’s a break down of the promises that we’ll be holding them to: • A promise to reverse the cut to the Minimum Wage: On this front the new coalition has been as good as its word and the Irish Minimum Wage rate will be returned to €8.65 on July 1st. • A promise to maintain social welfare rates at their current level: As of yet nothing has been announced in this regard but it’s one to watch. • An independent and fair review of the JLC/ERO system: This goes to the very heart of worker’s interests. With employers groups pushing hard for changes, the trade union movement has to fight hard to protect its own in this area. The Government’s promises on each of these issues helped them secure a strong majority in the Dáil. Now its time to make sure that they keep up their side of the bargain. And that’s exactly what Mandate intends to do.

Figures just released by the Government confirm that public servants like Sharon are so far delivering the savings demanded under the Croke Park deal. On top of pay cuts averaging 14% – plus all the new taxes and charges that we’ve all had to pay – that’s the price of the Croke Park commitments on pay and redundancies. Bernard Harbor, IMPACT Trade Union MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and Táiniste, Eamon Gilmore


Organising Organising Down Under Dave Gibney (used to handle Mandate’s communications with Montague Communications) Organising members is probably the key strategic challenge facing the trade union movement not just in Ireland but all over the globe as I discovered on starting work as a Union Organiser in the Licensed, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) in Melbourne, Australia in February this year. Having been a trade union activist all my life, I was eager to see how things worked on the other side of the world. The LHMU has approximately 130,000 members throughout Australia including about 40,000 in the State

work unpaid until the rooms were all cleaned! The union were using various actions to put pressure on the Hilton Hotel Group to sign a pledge to support the campaign. On this particular day the action involved union organisers, room attendants and volunteers standing outside the Hilton Hotel, handing out leaflets and balloons to guests and passers by same as they had been doing for the past five months. What really grabbed people’s attention though was when all 20 of us began singing our very own versions of the Elvis classic, Heartbreak Hotel and Fever by Peggy Lee! They got their reward nearly two months later, on 11 April, when the Hilton Hotel signed the first Hotels with Heart pledge.

of Victoria, where I was based and represent a wide variety of occupations.

Left: LHMU who recently negotiated a 12.5% pay increase. Right: Room attendants celebrate their milestone win at the Hilton Hotel

The LHMU’s work in the baking industry is another good example. In order to overcome marked differences in the On beginning training, it quickly became clear that the Australians have a different way of doing things then back home. LHMU organisers don’t just deal with workers in their workplace but also make calls to members homes and meet workers in offsite cafés. Another big difference is that organisers don’t deal with industrial or work issues members may be having – they’re handled by a call centre manned by industrial law experts. This gives the organiser more time to deal with increasing membership and the strength of the union on the shop floor. One of my first tasks involved an action to support the Hotels with Heart campaign which is similar to Mandate’s Respect Retail Worker’s campaign. One key issue was that room attendants in high class hotels in Melbourne were only getting 15 minutes to clean each room and if they were behind schedule, they had to stay back and 9

rates/conditions between employers in the sector, LHMU negotiated, through having almost 100% membership and a very active unionised workforce, a 12.5% pay increase over three years with the leading employer. The idea was to set the wages/conditions there as the industry standard and then begin negotiating with the other four bakeries to bring them up to that level over a number of years. LHMU members in that leading employer are heavily involved in this campaign as they realise that non-union, low paid workers are a threat to their own terms and conditions. By ensuring that the whole industry is represented by the LHMU, it means companies will have to compete on their products and not on how low they can get away with paying their staff. MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Campaigns Claiming our Future ‘Ideas’ – Domestic Domestic Tackling Income Inequality Workers Demand The International their Rights Monetary Fund says that it is needed to sustain economic growth. Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, authors of the Spirit Level, found that it leads to higher levels of life expectancy and educational attainment and lower levels of imprisonment and violence Claiming Our Future’s in society. A TASC survey Niall Crowley reported that 91% of respondents wanted Government action on it. Why then is nothing being done about income equality in Ireland?

After 50 years of domestic worker organisations and trade union campaigning, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) will vote at its meeting in Geneva, June 2011 on adopting a convention on “decent work for domestic workers”. If passed any affiliated Governments – like Ireland’s – would have to ensure vulnerable workers in this sector are protected.

Governments, past and present, seem complacent about it. In Ireland the richest ten percent of households earn eleven times more income than the poorest ten percent. A quarter of all income is earned by this richest ten percent. Not only is nothing being done about this, it’s getting worse. Current policies to deal with the economic crisis are increasing poverty. Adult and child poverty rates have grown over 2008 and 2009 according to CSO data. The rich are getting richer. The World Wealth Report found that Ireland’s ‘high net worth population’ rose by ten percent in 2009. These are people with investable assets of $1million or more. There is anger at the excessive incomes of some individuals. There is concern at the difficulties encountered by those trying to survive on welfare. However there is little debate about the scale of income inequality and the policies that make this possible, even inevitable. Yet this income inequality is not only an injustice. It is also a causal factor in many of the health and social problems we face and is an impediment to economic recovery. Claiming our Future aims to change this. On May 28th it is hosting a national discussion on steps to reduce income inequality in NUI Galway. Register now on The discussion will explore the politics of income equality, tackling high incomes and inequality and tackling low income and poverty. It will also focus on identifying national levers for change and local action to make income inequality an issue.

Members of the Domestic Workers Action Group

Globally, millions of women and girls are employed in the sector, which is notorious for its poor labour standards and exploitative treatment of workers. MRCI’s Domestic Workers Action Group (DWAG), together with the trade union movement, is mobilising support for a campaign to ensure the Government votes in favour of a convention that is strong enough to provide proper protection for all domestic workers, regardless of their immigration status. You can help all domestic workers by signing the online petition:

Niall Crowley, Steering Group Member, Claiming Our Future

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011


Wages Battle underway for thousands of Workers One of the most important battles over the wages and conditions of thousands of workers is now taking place in the halls of power. The focus point for this struggle is the Government’s current review of the operation of Joint Labour Committees (JLCs) and Employment Regulation Orders (EROs) – explain what they are. The system, which was first established in the 1930s and has been continually adapted to meet the needs of the times, sets the wages and conditions of approximately 240,000 workers, 100,000 of whom are employed in the retail grocery sector.

lobbying no doubt heavily influenced

The decision to undertake a review of the JLCs and EROs was one of the desperate measures introduced in the dying days of the previous Government as part of the IMF/EU bailout terms. The terms of the review set the “continued relevance” and “impact of EROs on labour market flexibility” as the standard against which the system was to be judged.

Accusing the employers’ groups of operating a ‘blatant’ double standard he continued: “During periods of economic boom, employers have been quite happy to accept the wage rates set by the JLCs because they act as an effective ceiling on wages in sectors such as retail and restaurants. However, during recessionary times they aren’t prepared to accept the same wage levels despite the fact that they provide a very effective protective floor to ensure that low paid workers don’t fall into poverty or are not exploited.”

Mandate’s Response Mandate, Assistant General Secretary, Gerry Light says that it is vitally important that this review must be transparent and inclusive of the perspectives of all vested interests – not just the various employers’ groups that have been campaigning to drive down the wage rates of low paid workers. “It is somewhat ironic that one of the

the last Government’s decision to cut the Minimum Wage by €1 per hour.”

a legal challenge in the High Court over the constitutionality of the JLC system. In protest at this aggressive and miserly action, workers from the Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum – established by SIPTU and the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) – launched protests outside fast food outlets up and down the country. MRCI Director, Siobhan O’Donoghue, stated: "Restaurant workers are already struggling to support their families. Hours have been cut, and many workers

Gerry Light concluded by warning employers and the Government that reducing the wages of low paid workers would be counterproductive as it would depress consumer spending in the domestic economy, reduce growth even further and make it harder for Ireland to achieve debt sustainability.

have seen their wages cut too. Any more cuts would be disastrous for working people. We are here today to protest against the Quick Service Food Alliance’s attack on minimum wages. If they win their case the lives of restaurant workers and the lives of thousands of others working under the JLC rates will be reduced to misery.”

Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum protesting outside Supermacs on O’Connell St. Dublin

main arguments being put forward by the employers’ organisations for the

Fast Food Employers

eradication of the JLC structure is that

Unfortunately, members of the Quick Service Food Alliance – which represents highly profitable fast food outlets like Burger King, Supermacs and Eddie Rockets – couldn’t even wait for the findings of the review and started

it is no longer required because of the existence of an adequate statutory National Minimum Wage. These are the very same groups whose intense 11

MANDATE and the hundreds of thousands of workers dependent on the JLCs and EROs for setting their wage rates will be waiting with the interest to see how this court case pans out as well as the Government’s review.

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

This Summer choose a Fair Hotel! Thanks to the Fair Hotels Campaign, consumers across the island of Ireland now have an opportunity to ensure that they make the right choice – the ethical choice – when they book hotels for business or pleasure. By choosing a Fair Hotel you can be sure not only of the finest facilities and service that the hospitality sector has to offer; you can also be sure that the hotel is treating its staff fairly and affording them full collective bargaining rights. The SIPTU Fair Hotels campaign was launched in the summer of 2009 in response to very high levels of non-compliance with labour law in the Irish hotel industry. Over a three-year period, an average of almost 75% of hotels visited by inspectors were found not to be giving their employees the correct rates of pay and work conditions. This type of undercutting gives these hotels an unfair financial advantage over those that recognise workers’ rights and are compliant with industry agreements. To challenge this situation hotel workers and their union, SIPTU, set up the Fair Hotels initiative. This campaign is based on the principle that hotels that treat staff fairly should be supported by all those who care about workers’ rights.

The campaign has introduced a new ethical choice for consumers on its booking website Use of the website is one of the main tools in this campaign which sets out to stop exploitation of workers, prevent de-unionisation and the loss of quality jobs in the Irish hotel industry.

It has also demonstrated the difference that trade unions can make when they combine their purchasing power. The campaign has been endorsed by a broad coalition of supporters including all 55 trade unions affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), many international unions as well as 33 non-government organisations, community groups, sporting and religious based organisations. MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

“This campaign is about our traditional values as trade unionists – the right to a quality job, the right to form a union and workers coming together to fight for these rights,” said Campaign Co-ordinator Ethel Buckley. “MANDATE Trade Union has been a supporter of this campaign since day one. MANDATE demonstrated real solidarity with low wage workers in the hotel industry by making sure that Whites Hotel in Wexford agreed to recognise the union before placing its delegate conference in the hotel. This shows the power of unions coming together to fight for trade union recognition and organising rights.” Fair Hotels has become one of the recent success stories in trade union organising and has led to a 23% increase in the number of hotels that recognise the right of their staff to be collectively represented by trade unions. Fair Hotels are now located throughout every region of Ireland, with many of those featured on the website recognised as market leaders in terms of amenities, service and value. In recent months Whites of Wexford, Wynn’s of Dublin, and the Clayton Hotel in Galway have signed up to the campaign adding further choice to an already extensive list. The recent dispute in the Davenport Hotel where workers had pay cuts imposed without negotiation shows what can happen in non-union hotels. The Labour Court actually declared in respect of this dispute that: “The employer’s actions were not fair.” Now, more than ever it is time that everybody played their part in supporting the good unionised jobs that this sector needs to not only survive, but to grow and prosper. So, if you are planning a hotel stay in Ireland and come across a “rock bottom” hotel deal it’s worth remembering who is being forced to pay the real price for this “bargain”. Show solidarity with hotel workers and help stop the “Race to the Bottom”. Make the right choice for you and your family – make the Union Choice of a Fair Hotel. A full list of participating hotels and an easy-to-use online booking system is available on the Fair Hotels website. Visit 12

A Debt Too Far The Repudiate the Debt Campaign gives it’s commentary on Ireland’s debt problems There is an apparent acceptance now among working people, small businesses, the self-employed and family farmers that our country is banjaxed: a feeling of hopelessness and, among some, even despair. There is hardly a family in the country that is not affected by the economic crisis now engulfing our country. There appears to be no end to cuts, levies, “social charges.” Many families are barely able to keep their heads above the floodwaters of debt, whether personal debt, mortgages, or what the politicians call “national” or “sovereign” debt. It is estimated that right now this state owes about €100 billion, and growing, with a potential of hundreds of billions more, because of the bank guarantee that the last Government gave and the present one has chosen to continue. This guarantee was in effect a guarantee to German and French bankers that, no matter what, the Irish people would pay back all the money invested by Irish banks around the globe—money borrowed from those same banks in the first place. Like a giant revolving door, people walking in with bags of money and those same people walking out again with the same money, back to the same banks they got it from in the first place. The figures are beyond our personal experience: numbers are bandied about more to confuse than to enlighten people. Experts of all shapes and sizes tell us there is no other way than to bear the pain and pay the debts that Irish speculators, property developers and fast-buck bankers succeeded in offloading onto the backs of the Irish people. Now, bankers and economists come in every month from the EU and IMF to look at the books, to make sure the cuts in spending are happening and have the desired effect. They are determining what we as a people can and cannot do. They are making sure the agreement signed by the Government is followed to the letter: cuts, the selling off of public companies and our natural resources, increased taxes, a gigantic transfer of wealth from the people to corporations. 13

All of us—family members, our children and grandchildren— will have to carry this debt burden for decades to come. More and more cuts, levies and taxes will be required merely to service the debt, never mind pay it off. This year alone we will pay about €10 billion in interest; this is almost the same as what we spend on the health service. And that figure can only grow. And yet there is a way out of this mess, the mire that our country has been dragged into. The Repudiate the Debt Campaign was launched to campaign for lifting this burden off the backs of working people, small businesses, and the self-employed. It is our view that this debt is unjust, unpayable, anti-democratic. We have never been asked whether this was the best way forward. The people of Iceland demanded that they be given a vote on the massive debt racked up by the banks; the government negotiated a different deal, and the people rejected it. Iceland has not disappeared below the waves of the North Atlantic, nor are relief ships heading northwards to feed the starving people of Iceland. It is our view that this debt is not the people’s responsibility. It is not our debt: it is an odious debt not of our making. No schools, hospitals, roads or community centres were built with this money. We have nothing to show for this massive debt: all we have got is cuts and levies.

We wish to involve the widest number of people and organisations, in particular trade unions and their members, on this most important issue facing our people. We need to build a broad coalition, firstly to demand a referendum and secondly to support the call for repudiation of the debt. To repudiate the debt means that we decide, on our terms, what we wish to do about it, and whether we wish to pay or not, or how much we wish to take responsibility for. Our immediate demand is that the people must be allowed a vote in a referendum on this unpayable and unbearable burden placed on this and future generations of Irish people. None of us are rearing our children for them to be scattered across the globe in search of work.

Eugene McCartan, Repudiate the Debt Campaign, MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Training Women at Work Skillnet shortlisted for AONTAS Star Award The Women at Work Skillnet training programme for women workers – in which MANDATE Trade union is a very active participant – has been shortlisted for the 2011 AONTAS (the National Adult Learning Organisation) STAR Awards. The awards are a key part of the fifth annual Adult Learners' Festival. AONTAS’ CEO, Berni Brady, pointed out that the AONTAS STAR Awards are about recognising and celebrating the invaluable collaborative work undertaken by adult learning initiatives in communities throughout the State.

“The importance of such initiatives have grown as the difficult economic climate has emerged. It's even more important now that we continue to showcase the value of the sector in responding to the needs of individuals, communities, society and the economy”. Aileen Morrissey, MANDATE’s Training Co-ordinator, explained that the Women at Work Skillnet Project is dynamic and innovative both in its scope and in its partnership building – it includes organisations such as MANDATE, the Irish Bank Officials Association, Irish Nurses Midwives Organisation, Communications Workers Union, SIPTU and Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

“This group has a unique insight not only into the training needs of its members currently in employment but also the skill development needs of those who are currently unemployed. There is a powerful shared ethos between the project partners that all women should have equality of access to training and learning.” Women at Work Skillnet offers a varied programme of training to all union members participating. The response from members, both male and female, has been positive across the board, with reports that the programmes of learning have made real differences to personal and professional lives. Mandate is actively involved in the project and it is with great enthusiasm that this year’s programme of training has been developed and is currently being delivered. Details are available at the Women at Work website or the Mandate training web page at More information on the Aontas festival can be found on

Receiving the Aontas award from former TD Mr. Michael D Higgins on behalf of the Women at Work Skillnet are: Ms Aileen Morrissey (Mandate), Ms Marian Geoghegan (IBOA), Ms Noreen Fitzpatrick (Skillnets), Ms Alacoque McMenamin (Project Manager) and Mr. Frank Vaughan (ICTU)

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011


Mandate Shop Stewards Training Programme 2011 Please Note: If you are interested in attending any of these courses, contact your Mandate Official or the Mandate Organising and Training Centre at 01 836 9699. Course Title


Duration of Course

Course Location

Union Representative Introductory

June 13, 14, 15

3 days

OTC Dublin

Equality and Integration

July 18

1 day

OTC Dublin

Health and Safety Elected Representatives

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Union Representative Advanced

September 5, 6, 7

3 days – Fetac


Union Rep Introductory Marks and Spencer Specific

September 6, 7, 8

3 days

OTC Dublin

Union Representative Advanced Tesco Specific

September 12, 13, 14

3 days – Fetac

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Union Representative Advanced

September 26, 27, 28

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Union Representative Introductory

October 3, 4, 5

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Union Representative Advanced

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OTC Dublin


MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Industrial Relations Connolly’s Shoes Workers Still Standing Tall After a Year on Strike Workers at Connolly’s Shoes, Dun Laoghaire have still not received the justice they deserve one year after the beginning of their strike. However, despite this, they are very much standing tall. To mark their first anniversary on strike, MANDATE Trade Union has called on the owners of Connolly’s Shoes to pay the thousands of Euros owed to the four striking workers due to a number of awards from the Rights Commissioners. In addition, the union has issued a special e-card to thousands of its supporters around the country and has been drumming up messages of support from all over the world – including a letter from the US union Leader, Joe Hansen, President of the UFCW which is published in this edition of MANDATE News. Mandate Divisional Organiser, Joe Donnelly, explained that the workers went on strike because their employer, Matt Connolly, tried to unilaterally force further pay cuts on their workers and other changes in their conditions while they were already on a shorter working week. Mr Donnelly said that the workers have still received no compensation from Connolly Shoes a year after having been summarily dismissed.

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

“Indeed, the workers recently brought a number of cases before the Rights Commissioners and, as a result, sums totalling thousands of Euros were awarded in their favour for breaches of the Payment of Wages Acts. Unfortunately, Connolly’s Shoes have refused to pay over any of these awards leaving their workers in a very tight situation financially as a result. In addition, they have not attended hearings with either the Labour Relations Commission or the Rights Commissioners. However, despite this, the four strikers’ spirits remain remarkably high.” Damian Keegan, one of the striking workers, explained that the last year has been a hard slog for him and his three colleagues. “The four of us, collectively, gave 110 years of loyal service to Connolly’s Shoes and we had a very good relationship with management until the current owner took over – this is why we have been so disappointed by how we have been treated by the company over the last year.


UFCW letter: Letter in support of Connolly’s Shoes workers from UFCW International President, Joseph T. Hansen


MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

“However, we’re determined to ensure that we get compensation for being summarily dismissed as well as the money we’re owed for the company’s breaches of the Payment of Wages legislation. It seems very strange to us that, in this day and age, our employer can get away with ignoring the Labour Relations Commission and the Rights Commissioners and leave us ‘high and dry’ as a result.”

“However, only a few weeks later, Connolly’s Shoes insisted that the staff take a further pay cut and accept more changes to their working hours. The staff asked their employer to negotiate with Mandate Trade Union and he refused. Connolly’s Shoes then asked the workers to sign an undertaking agreeing to these changes and when two refused, they were sacked without any notice. Two of their colleagues supported the two sacked workers and they were summarily dismissed as well. ” Joe Donnelly pointed out that nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition calling on the owners of Connolly Shoes to enter negotiations with their staff members or their representatives Mandate Trade Union.

Mr Keegan concluded by saying that if the four strikers get the money they are owed then they could get back to living more normal lives once again. He also acknowledged the huge support they have received from Mandate Trade Union, elected representatives and members of the public.

“The strike was granted ‘all out strike’ status by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and has received incredible support from the public. During July 2010, hundreds of local Dun Laoghaire people, trade unionists and prominent politicians – including the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Éamon Gilmore TD – turned out in support of the workers at a public rally,” Mr Donnelly concluded.

Joe Donnelly explained some of the background to the one-year old strike. “Connolly’s Shoes’ staff always recognised that in the current environment it may be necessary to look at reducing costs. In this context, it’s a measure of their commitment to the company that in autumn 2009, they believed that they had an agreement on working a shorter working week and hoped that the company’s owners would sit down and negotiate an ongoing agreement with them. From left to right: Connolly’s Shoes workers Damien Keegan, John Mulpetre, Susan Tonge and Pat Byrne

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011


Labour Court comes out in favour of Laura Ashley workers The Labour Court has recently found that Laura Ashley should pay 15 workers redundancy terms of two weeks pay per year of service, in addition to their statutory entitlement to three weeks pay per year of service.

Laura Ashley – as a highly profitable company – to cite financial losses as a reason for only offering statutory redundancy payments.”

The workers – who are members of the MANDATE trade union – were made redundant last October when Laura Ashley closed its store on Grafton Street in Dublin and were only offered statutory redundancy. As a result of the poor terms offered to them, the workers went on strike and have carried on their industrial action at their former store since then. MANDATE Divisional Organiser, Dave Moran, explains that – in its submission to the Labour Court – the union sought an enhanced redundancy package of five weeks’ pay per year of service, inclusive of the statutory entitlement.

“We said to the Labour Court that Laura Ashley has an obligation to operate within the custom and practice that operates in Ireland in relation to the terms offered to redundant workers. In that context, we argued that it was unacceptable for


Dave Moran explained that Laura Ashley did not attend the Labour Court hearing but submitted a letter setting out its position. The Court stated that this letter was taken into account when arriving at its recommendation. In this letter to the Labour Court, Laura Ashley set out that it had suffered significant financial loss as a result of the downturn in the economy and the closure of the Grafton Street store was a direct result of this loss. They argued

that they were not in a financial position to offer a redundancy package in excess of statutory entitlements. In addition, Laura Ashley said that they had made every effort to decrease the effects of the redundancies, including the creation of additional roles in remaining stores and the transferring of staff to existing vacancies within the company.

The Labour Court found that this was “an exceptional case” and made its recommendation “on a without precedent basis”. The Court recommended that Laura Ashley pay the striking workers an enhanced redundancy package of two weeks’ pay per year of service, in addition to their statutory entitlement. It will be interesting to see how Laura Ashley responds to this recommendation. Hopefully, the workers who have been on strike for over six months now will get some justice – at last!

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Blanchardstown Threat averted MANDATE Trade Union has been working hard over recent weeks to ensure that the British retailer group, Arcadia, and the owners of the Blanchardstown shopping centre, come to a deal on rent so that the jobs of the 104 workers in Arcadia’s outlets at the centre are secured. Divisional Organiser, Brendan O’Hanlon explained: “The Arcadia staff informed us on 1st April last that management had told them they would lose their jobs in September as the Blanchardstown Centre’s management had refused to agree to a reduction in the rents being charged.

Unfairly dismissed by TESCO for long term sickness The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has ordered TESCO to re-instate a MANDATE member on the same terms and conditions and pay wages lost as of 1 February 2009 after finding she was unfairly dismissed. The case came about after the company terminated the worker’s contract because it believed that she would not be in a position to resume work before a particular date because of a long term illness. The tribunal found that TESCO, without consultation with their staff or MANDATE Trade Union, recommended to management that a return to work should be sought within 12 months of a worker going on unpaid sick leave.

The member was not afforded the opportunity

“We immediately issued a statement calling on the Blanchardstown Centre’s management to ‘get real’ about the rents they were charging in what is now a very depressed market for retail.”

to appeal the decision to terminate her position and her store manager admitted during the EAT hearing that this was a breach of company procedures.

In the days that followed, Arcadia announced

The EAT in its decision was of the opinion

that negotiations would be commencing with

that Tesco did not give adequate regard to the

the Blanchardstown Centre management on

member’s health professional’s report and it

the question of the rents that were being paid.

also accepted the company policy on extended sick leave was not made known to staff.

“We in MANDATE welcomed this development and continue to emphasise that the key issue here is the protection of the 104 jobs,” concluded Brendan O’Hanlon.

The member was re-instated and paid all wages lost due to the dismissal.

Divisional Organiser, Brendan O’Hanlon

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011


Union News Activist Profile – Sandra Stapleton 1. What division are you in? I am a member of Dublin North West Division of Mandate Trade Union and Secretary of the Liffey Valley Local Council of Mandate. 2. Why and when did you become involved in the union? My parents were members of unions during their working life so the benefits and the importance of being a member were instilled in me from an early age. I became involved with Mandate Trade Union 11 years ago when I started working in Boots. After a while, I started to attend courses/workshops held by the union and then become a Mandate Learning Representative through a course with ICTU. I would really encourage members to take up the different courses available to them through their union as I know a lot of members in my store have benefited greatly from such courses. 3. What difference has being a part of Mandate made to you as a person and a worker? Being part of Mandate Trade Union has made such a big difference to my life. I have learnt so much from my involvement and also met the most amazing people from all over the world. It makes you realise how lucky we are in Ireland to have the right to join a union, regardless of whether an employer recognises that union or not. Women have had a long hard struggle to become union members and we should be proud of our sisters who have lead the way before us and whose efforts have guaranteed for us the protection of our unions.


4. What are the specific issues facing female workers in today’s Ireland? Women have always been one of the more vulnerable groups of workers in our society. In the past, retail was traditionally dominated by women although that is not as much the case today as more and more men are taking up employment in the sector. In some cases, as a result of the catastrophic downturn in our economy, women in retail may be the only earners in a household and therefore they feel serious pressure to comply with the demands of management even if it that means a lot more hours worked for less pay. 6. What are the successes to date of Mandate in your area in terms of campaigns? Mandate had the Respect Retail Campaign a few years back and I think it made a big difference. Although some employers were not too keen on staff wearing the red badges displaying the RRC logo when customers looked at it I think it made them think again and behave differently to staff. 7. What would you consider to be the most pressing issue for Mandate campaign wise at the moment? I think the most pressing issue for Mandate at the moment is the protection of Employment Regulation Orders and the Registered Employment Agreements. These have been achieved through union negotiations with management and have been made into law by the

Mandate activist, Sandra Stapleton

Joint Labour Committees. What is the point of collective bargaining if these agreements can be reformed or removed, whenever a particular administration so chooses. They are there for the protection of workers’ pay and conditions and we as a union need to highlight exactly what will happen to workers should the business groups succeed in removing the protection that these agreements offer. Retail workers weren’t responsible for the mess the country now finds itself in, so why should they have to pay for it? 8. What advice would you give to potential Mandate activists for the future? Potential activists must passionately believe in what they are campaigning for. There is no point in doing something just for the sake of it. You have to believe what you’re doing is for the common good. I would encourage potential activists to take advantage of all the training courses available to them within Mandate to become more aware of the different issues and up to date with all the campaigns and organising that is on going within Mandate. I would also encourage potential members to be aware of local, national and global issues. Remember Unions Protect Jobs! Now get more active in Mandate its YOUR UNION!

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Workers of the World Wisconsin 2011 – a defining moment in U.S. trade union history? August 1981 is often referred to as a defining moment in U.S. labour relations history when the then President, Ronald Reagan, took on the air traffic controllers who had just gone on strike. In response to the strike, Reagan stated that the striking air-traffic controllers were “in violation of the law” and that if they failed to report to work within 48 hours their jobs would be terminated. He carried out the threat, firing the 11,350 controllers who did not return to the job, which amounted to 70% of the workforce. Just for good measure, Reagan also announced a lifetime ban against rehiring any of the strikers, which was not overturned until President Clinton came into office.

UFCW President Joe Hansens joins those marching in Washington to support Wisconsin workers

In addition to dealing a significant blow to the strike weapon, Reagan’s move signaled the implicit announcement by the U.S. Government that it was open season on trade unions. If the President of the United States could be a union buster, then why shouldn’t companies get in on the act?

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

The 1980s heralded a huge proliferation of anti-union consultancy and law firms, whose job it was to offer their services to companies who wanted to remain or become union-free. So private sector companies, cheered on by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other right wing groups, began a concerted campaign to reduce unionisation in the private sector. Today, the number of people organised into unions in the private sector in the U.S. is less than 7%, with the public sector significantly higher at 36%.

Public sector worker versus private sector worker – the illusion of division

U.S. unions and politics

The above arguments came into full view in the northern U.S. state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the birthplace of the progressive movement in America, but elected a right wing

So the right wing has determined that public sector unions are a problem. Why? To understand that, one must examine U.S. politics. The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 was a major victory for the American left. To elect a black president, who supported trade unions, after eight years of George W. Bush was a feat not lost on those in the business community who were antiunion. During that campaign, unions in particular mobilised millions of workers and ran political ads that helped to get the message across. This, quite simply, could not be tolerated.

So in the mid-term elections in November 2010, the right came out fighting. With the U.S. in an economic recession and with high unemployment, the right wing communication machine began to blame public sector workers. The message to the electorate was as simple as it was distorted: you have high taxes because you are paying for the public workers’ high salaries; you don’t have a pension and yet the public workers have gold plated pensions; the problem is not the Wall Street executives, some of whom earn more in an hour than most people will earn in a lifetime – instead, the problem is the firefighter who lives up the street from you and rushes into a burning building to save someone’s life, and that’s who you should target your anger upon.


governor called Scott Walker in the mid-term elections. Walker set about using the fraudulent arguments listed above in an attempt to validate an allout attack on public sector workers in the State of which he was now head. He issued a decree that not only would salaries and benefits be cut, but that he would pass legislation to strip the right to collectively bargain from the unions. This meant that the unions would no longer be able to sit across from the State government and discuss their concerns. Rather, the government would decide what was to happen and would instead inform the workers of any changes that affect them. This was a policy initiative that would be imitated in many other states across America.

UFCW fighting back Most on the right believed that unions might grumble about this, but that they were too weak to do anything about it. However, the response of U.S. unions was perhaps best summed up by the words of

the President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Joe Hansen, who said that “this is not an attack on public sector workers, but an attack on all workers, and all of us in the labour movement are inspired to respond”. Joe Hansen, as President of UFCW, is a close friend of Mandate as he heads the union which is the retail sector union for North America and boasts 1.3 million members in the U.S. and Canada. The UFCW set about putting in place a strategy to combat Governor Walker’s tactics in Wisconsin.

created by those on the right between public and private sector workers. When he got to Wisconsin, however, he received a pleasant surprise. “Workers get it. Whether employed in the public or private sectors, it seems that this debate has awakened the sense of solidarity between workers who are not buying the line being trotted out by the Republicans”, said Thomson. Referring to the air-traffic controllers’ strike, Thomson stated “it is no surprise that Governor Walker has referred to President Reagan in fond terms during this fight”.

The union met with all other major unions in the U.S. and they put in place a common strategy and dispatched a team to Wisconsin to coordinate actions on the ground. Key to this effort was Ed Thomson, a senior organiser with the UFCW, who worked with the other labour groups. Thomson stated that “only by harnessing the enormous people power that was evident in Wisconsin did we have any hope of reversing Walker’s attempts”, and that’s exactly what Thomson and UFCW members in Wisconsin set about doing. The UFCW devised and is currently implementing a plan which has grassroots, media, political and public dimensions. There are already coordinated efforts underway to trigger recall elections for many of the Republicans in the State government, a process that is extremely technical and challenging but also effective.

So it seems that Wisconsin and similar events in other U.S. states may well prove to be another defining moment in U.S. trade union history. UFCW and her allies are working to ensure that any definition will prove to be positive for workers. And in the wake of this fight is the realisation that public and private sectors workers have much more to unite them than they do to divide them. While circumstances are not directly the same, perhaps this last lesson could be one that Irish workers might heed!

According to Thomson, he expected the biggest challenge to be bridging the divide 23

UFCW workers march on Wisconsin

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Unions respond to Japanese Crises

‘Stitching’ a Decent Living Wage for Asian Garment Workers

Last March the world watched with horror as the earthquake and consequent tsunami wreaked havoc all over the island nation of Japan. More than any other previous natural disaster, the Japanese disaster was captured by terrifying videos and images of towns and villages being swept away. As hard as it was to believe, events quickly took a turn for the worst as it became clear that a nuclear facility located on the east coast had been critically compromised by the double whammy of earthquake and tsunami.

Most of the world’s clothes are made in Asia, yet Asian garment workers are paid the least. However, when these workers campaign for better wages and conditions, their companies move to other locations where wages are cheaper. This is why the Asia Floor Wage campaign was set up two years ago by a large Asian alliance of unions and labour-rights activists. They defined and calculated a floor wage (minimum living wage) for Asian garment workers – the floor wage is designed to guarantee that workers receive enough to meet basic needs for themselves and their families. It translates into different local currencies through the PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) conversion factor for each country. In 2009, the formula was 475 PPP$. The new minimum living wage benchmarks for 2011 and 2012 are based on the same definition but adjusted for two years of inflation – reaching 540PPP$ for 2011. In local currency this translates into: • Bangladesh 12248 BDT • Cambodia 692903 Riel • India 7967 Rupees • Indonesia 2132202 Rupiah

With little more than overalls to protect them, the brave workers of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) worked night and day to prevent nuclear contamination from spreading further then it already had.

The international trade union movement mobilised to provide workers in Japan with much needed funds and thousands of messages of solidarity. The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) established a web page with extensive information on the earthquake, tsunami and what followed and also announced a donation of more than US$300,000 directly from the Federation to help the people of Japan. Hopefully, the worst of the crisis is over so that Japan can get on with the business of recovery. However, the international trade union movement will continue to take a keen interest in events there in case their support is needed once again.

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

• Sri Lanka 19077 Rupees • China 1842 RMB Currently, actual minimum wages in these countries are far below a minimum living wage, often less than half of it for working weeks in excess of 48 working hours. In many countries, the legal minimum wages are not observed or enforced at all. The garment industry in Asia, which employs predominantly women workers, is renowned for poverty wages, excessive overtime and poor working conditions, and protests often land the workers in jail. The campaign has also issued 10 practical guidelines for garment companies that outsource their production to Asia and urge them to take up their part of the responsibility to ensure that these Asian workers can live more dignified lives. For more general background information on the campaign to introduce a decent living wage for Asian garment workers, please visit


3rd UNI Global World Congress

Bahrain trade unionists oppressed by Government crack down

Some 2000 trade unionists from around the world came together in Nagasaki, Japan, in November 2010 for the UNI Global Union 3rd World Congress, which set the course for UNI’s next four years. And MANDATE General Secretary, John Douglas and President, Joan Gaffney were right there representing the Irish perspective.

All over the Middle East, the ‘Arab Spring’ has seen people – including trade union members – campaigning for democracy and an end to the dictatorships that have controlled the region for generations.

UNI Global Union provides a voice and a platform at international level for workers across the private services sector, including retail workers. UNI has 20 million members globally in 900 affiliated trade unions – including MANDATE Trade Union. At the World Congress it was decided that UNI’s key challenges include developing strategies to help the world economy recover from the global financial crisis by getting people back to work, fighting staggering income inequality and ensuring workers in every corner of the world have the right to organise and bargain collectively. UNI is also facing head on the threats from climate change and from the buildup of nuclear weapons.

While in Nagasaki, UNI held its first World Women’s Conference which passed a motion to ensure at least 40 percent of UNI’s leadership positions are held by women.

Mandate President, Joan Gaffney at UNI Global World Congress in Nagasaki


The authorities in Bahrain in response to this demand for greater democracy have launched an all-out attack on the Bahraini trade union movement with thousands of workers dismissed for taking part in trade union activities in support of peaceful calls for reform. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Deputy General Secretary Jaap Wienen has pledged a comprehensive package of international actions in support of the fundamental rights of Bahrain’s working people. “Bahrain is sliding into dictatorship and the elimination of trade union activity is being given a high priority by those in the ruling circles who intend to complete the transformation of the country into a totalitarian state. The Bahraini trade unions have been at the forefront of the movement for dialogue, peace and reconciliation, yet the government has clearly decided to try and destroy them. The international trade union movement will not simply stand by and allow this to happen. If the government does not change course, the global diplomatic and economic consequences will be severe,” said the ITUC’s Jaap Wienen. MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Mandate Gets Active on Social Networking Websites Mandate has launched its online presence on some of the most popular social networking websites. Why don’t you log on to our Facebook, Twitter or Flickr accounts for regular updates and information? You can find these by going to the Mandate website and scrolling to the bottom of the homepage.

Keep in touch with Mandate’s ezine Mandate now has an ezine with information on the union and its campaigns. Over the coming months Mandate intends sending out regular updates to members and other interested parties. You can sign up to the ezine through Mandate Trade Union’s website homepage, and scroll down to the bottom. Stay informed by signing up and tell your colleagues and friends to sign up too.

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011


Mandate Gaeltacht Scholarships We are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Mandate Gaeltacht Scholarships. The winners will get to spend three weeks immersing themselves in the Irish language in various Gaeltacht areas around the country and

hopefully come out a lot wiser from their summer away. As much as it will break their parents’ hearts to have them out of earshot for three whole weeks, we’re sure they’ll survive!

Jack Bolger, Co Kildare Robert Flynn, Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Eibhlín Broderick, Co Limerick Emma O'Gorman, Co Kerry

Tríona Brennan, Co Carlow

Brendan O'Connor, Co Tipperary

Katie Good, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Rowan English, Cahir, Co Tipperary

Mairéad Maguire, Carrigaline, Co Cork

Aisling Crosby, Co Kildare

Shaunagh Naughton, Limerick City

Sinead Fleming, Dublin 15

Andrew Cushen, Malahide Road, Dublin 13 Aoife Hayes, Birr, Co Offaly Eoin Kirwan, Carlow Leona Flynn, Clane, Co Kildare Seán Newman, Navan Road, Dublin 7

Kate Durnin, Co Dublin Caoimhín Chesser, Co Clare Orla Forde, Tuam, Co Galway Gillian Moore, Clonakilty, Co Cork Megan Cushen, Malahide Road, Dublin 13 Tara O'Leary, Co Cork

Sarah Doogue, Co Carlow

Amy Walsh, Dublin 20

Sally O'Sullivan, Co Cork

Dean Looney, Co Cork

Roisín Fleming, Dublin 16

Shane O'Connor, Co Cork

Aisling O'Leary, Co Cork Comhgháirdeas agus tá suíl againn go mbainfidh sibh a lán taitneamh as! 27

MANDATE NEWS / Autumn 2010

Dear Members, I am very pleased to announce the launch of Mandate Membership Services. JLT Insurance Brokers has been appointed to coordinate the provision of these services to our members on our behalf. We have utilised the combined purchasing power of our members to achieve a range of discount rates and special offers on a number of products and services which will include an initial comprehensive package of car, home, travel insurance, health cash plans and hotel deals through the Fair Hotels initiative. Throughout the coming months our aim is to introduce more services and benefits to our members which will extend to your family members also.

How to access Mandate Membership Services You have a large number of options to get more information about any of the products and services we provide. You can call us directly or log on to the company’s website to access an instant quote or just to get more information. (See opposite page for details). When you call please state you are a member of Mandate to ensure you get access to the discounted rates negotiated for you. You can find us on membershipservices and you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. We will also be sending out news, updates and competitions through the Mandate Ezine so make sure you have subscribed. If not, you can do so now at

John Douglas

Tony Burke, Operations Director, JLT, speaking at the launch of Mandate Membership Services said: ”JLT is both excited and honoured to be in partnership with Mandate Trade Union in the provision of services to your members. Our commitment to Mandate is twofold, firstly to provide members with a highly competitive range of covers and benefits to meet their needs and secondly to ensure you of our highest level of customer service at all times”.

Win an iPod Touch with Mandate Membership Services Simply answer the following question and send your answer along with your car and home insurance renewal dates and your name, address & contact phone number to or post to Mandate Membership Services, iPod Competition, JLT Insurance Brokers Ireland Limited, Warrington House, Mount Street Crescent, Dublin 2. Q, Fill in the blank Exclusive rates and scheme discounts of up to _____ % on Motor Insurance? Terms & Conditions apply. Draw will take place on July 17th 2011. Full details of the competition can be obtained from JLT Insurance Brokers Ireland Limited, Warrington House, Mount Street Crescent, and Dublin 2. Winner will be notified by post.

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011



MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

The Wall Quiz

Caption Competition

1. What percentage of Irish people voted for the Left in this year’s General Election?

Win a €50 shopping voucher for best caption.

2. On what date will the National Minimum Wage return to €8.65?

This is a picture of General Secretary, John Douglas at the Day of Shame rally in February 2011.

3. What does the Australian trade union name LHMU stand for? 4. On what date and where will Claiming Our Future hold their national discussion on “Income Inequality”? 5. What fast food outlets have attacked the ERO/JLC system through the courts? 6. Name one hotel that has joined the Fair Hotel list in recent months? 7. How long have the Connolly Workers been on strike? 8. Where did UNI Global hold its global conference in late 2010? 9. What award was Women at Work Skillnet shortlisted for this year? 10. How many Mandate Gaeltacht Scholarships were awarded this year?

All correct entries will be entered into a draw to win a €50 shopping voucher.

CAPTION:......................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................................

Please include: Name, Division, Contact details Send entries to: Mandate News,Montague Communications, Prospect House, 3 Prospect Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9 or Final date for entry is 30 July 2011.

What 's betw the differe ee nc and p n chopped e ea so beef up? E ca n c v e r ho yone every p beef, bu t not one c a n pe a sou p.

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

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The objective of sudoku is to enter a digit from 1 through 9 in each cell, in such a way that: • Each horizontal row contains each digit exactly once • Each vertical column contains each digit exactly once • Each subgrid or region contains each digit exactly once This explains the name of the game; in Japanese, sudoku means something like “numbers singly”. Solving a sudoku puzzle does not require knowledge of mathematics; simple logic suffices. In each sudoku puzzle, several digits have already been entered (the “givens”); these may not be changed. The puzzler’s job is to fill the remainder of the grid with digits –respecting, of course, the three constraints mentioned earlier.

MANDATE NEWS / Summer 2011

Thinking of holidaying in Ireland?

Mandate members - make the right choice for you and your family - make the Union choice of a Fair Hotel. A full list of participating hotels and an easy to use online booking system is available on the website


Mandate Newsletter