My colleague Cllr Brendan Carr gave an impassioned speech moving the motion to implement collective bargaining legislation before the summer recess this year. I had the privilege of seconding it. Here is what I said
‘To me being a trade unionist and a Labour Party member are 2 sides of the same coin. We both view decent dignified work as the cornerstone of our society and what underpins a strong inclusive economy.
Each day across our country, sadly, workers are being exploited. Each day across our country the trade union movement strives to organise and support workers, to overcome their fear of speaking out and to face down employer prejudices.
A key impediment to their success is the lack of legislation recognising collective bargaining. This lack of legislation allows employers keep trade unions out and refuses workers the right to use their collective voice to have their say in what goes on in their working environment.
Take for example the constant and consistent work of Mandate Trade Union to organise and increase wage levels in the retail sector. We are now witnessing the current battle they are waging with Dunnes Stores to ensure the continuation of collective bargaining.
The Labour Party is the party of decent dignified work and wages, the party of workers’ rights. No other party has our history nor our commitment to work and workers.
When workers look for support, they should automatically look to the trade union movement on the ground and the Labour Party in the ballot box.
While I absolutely commend the work the Labour party has done for workers. In particular, the work of Minister Ged Nash – since he took office workers are seeing a difference. However, we can wait no longer – we need to pass our legislation for the recognition of collective bargaining as soon as possible. We need to send out a tangible signal to every worker in the country that there is a better fairer way, a way away from the commodification of labour and towards decent dignified work and wages, a way through their collective voices and our political support’