• Stephen Donnolly: Demand meat factory owners protect people from COVID-19
    The people who produce our food are often treated the worst in society. Now, they're being exposed to COVID-19 at work, and bosses are allowed to get away with it. It's time Minister for Health Stephen Donnolly took action to make meat factory bosses protect the people who work there.
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    Created by Emily Duffy Picture
  • Support Stamp 3 - Spouse/Dependent Visa Holders of PhD students for the Right to Work
    The dependents of PhD students would like to support their spouses who are conducting research in Irish institutions and contribute to Ireland with the skills they have possessed. It can be discouraging for other potential non-EU PhD students to come to Ireland due to dissatisfaction among their spouses, coupled with difficulty to manage living in Ireland owing to limited financial support. We are not demanding any special status or advantage for the spouses - only the RIGHT TO WORK AND PAY TAXES in Ireland. Stamp 3 holders are spouses/partners/dependents of non-EU PhD students who can contribute to flourish Irish Economy. PhD students could have thought of options, but we chose Ireland. Let us Conduct research in Irish institutions, Integrate and Contribute! We need a solution and your support to help us to integrate into Irish society and contribute through our research.
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    Created by PhD Students
  • Distribute Masks for Free
    After weeks of mixed messages from Government and Health Officials about the effectiveness of mask-wearing, there are now efforts to make up for lost time through regulation. It took the HSE until April 22 to introduce a mandatory policy for the wearing of masks. No official advice on face-coverings for the public was issued until May 13. As of this week, it is now a requirement on public transport and more recently in shops. It is not too late for everyone to buy-in to a new regime of mask-wearing, but we must re-focus the conversation on the accessibility of masks. The State's inadequate response in this crisis of public health, brings about a request from the public and a ask for our policymakers: we demand free distribution. The goal of mask-wearing is to save lives, not to further put them at risk. There are gaping holes in the plans announced which carry the risk of fuelling public tensions between those wearing them and those who may have a valid reason for not wearing one. On this basis, we are calling for the immediate ramping up and distribution of free masks for the entire population.
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    Created by Unite Community Picture
  • Improving Nurses Pay
    After watching the RTÉ investigates special and watching the nursing staff of St. James’ Hospital fight COVID on a daily basis, it was harrowing to see just what our nursing staff went through and continue to do so. These nurses watched countless people die and treated them with the upmost respect on their passing even acting as their family members due to the COVID restrictions. Our nursing staff have gone above and beyond across the country to save lives. And as the restrictions are lifted, they continue to fight COVID in our hospitals. This is not over for them and they fear a second wave. Our responsibility as the public to say a small thank you to these amazing nurses is to lobby ever single TD in this country until we increase their wages. Enough is enough. These amazing women and men deserve so much more. This is the least we could do for them. Below is a sample email to send to your local TD
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    Created by Emma Quirke
  • Save The SEO, Save Our Rates of Pay
    The Construction Workers Action Group agree that this decision will eventually affect all workers and not only construction sector. This is an attack on all worker rates of pay. Some of the reasons to fight back: 1. Bench mark rate of pay for Construction will be the Minimum Wage of 10.10 Euros. 2. Skilled workforce will exit sector to avoid further low pay conditions. 3. Low wages adds to the long list of employment issues in construction including bogus self-employment. 4. Housing will further contract and Sector will continue to slow down due to lack of skilled workforce. As the political establishment cobble together the most unpopular government ever formed in the state’s history. Workers’ rights were under attack, when a High Court ruling struck down the legislation that provides for Sectorial Employment orders (SEO). The workplace relations act (amended 2015), was instrumental in the provision of SEO's. (A SEO is the legal structure used to set the minimum rates and rights of workers, in any given sector of employment) The ruling signals the intent of a section of employers to undermine these orders, and demonstrates a clear lack of empathy with workers and the already inadequate pay and conditions existing within the sector. It is our intention to organise a defence of the pay and conditions outlined in the SEO and to see that the second instalment, (due on the 1st of October!), is honoured and implemented. And lobby for immediate improvement in our overall working conditions for all workers in construction. The state has the right to appeal this decision within 21 days of the court decision and Minister Varadkar has the responsibility to reverse this disaster decision, and should do so immediately. This petition is a first step towards those ends and we call on workers of all sectors to sign it and demand government appeal the decision and introduce all relevant mechanisms to ensure that the pay and conditions are protected. While the petition on its own will not be enough, we are preparing a series of protests and demonstrations to ensure both employers and the politicians who facilitate them, are under no illusion as to the depth of feeling among workers for this attack on workers’ rights. Other issues such as bogus Self-employment, reckless employment practices, illegal taxation behaviour of rogue contractors and agencies and other will also all be lobbied for, within any movement going forward. We invite you now to sign the petition for better workplace conditions for all workers including construction workers. Organise in your workplace, join your union and fight back against this attack on workers rates of pay and their employment rights and join other workers in other sectors for better employment. In Solidarity Construction Workers Action Group.
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    Created by Andrew Keegan
  • Appoint a Senior Minister for Women and Equalities
    A long-term solution to remove systemic blocks to equality, for Women, girls and minorities in Ireland, is needed. The UK, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark and Canada have a Minister for Women or similar. It is time for the Irish government to consider a Minister for Women, like other countries. A Minister for Women and Equalities would need to do the job full-time, with enough resources, time and authority to do the work. A Minister for Women could look at systemic, policy blocks to equal opportunities in employment, education, housing and other areas for all people in Ireland, regardless of gender, marital status, family status, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion, socioeconomic status and membership of the Traveller community. Enquires Twitter: @zoehealy3
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    Created by Zoe Obeimhen Picture
  • Save Cavan Midwifery Led Unit (MLU)
    A still unknown decision has led to the MLU in Cavan being effectively closed in all but name under the guise of a merger with the consultant-led unit. This may be the third time Cavan MLU has faced closure and the pregnant people in the area have faced limitation of their care choices. The effective closure of the Midwifery-Led Unit on Monday 1st of June 2020 and the manner in which this decision has been taken, with no public consultation or formal announcement from either Cavan General Hospital or the RSCI group, who we understand are leading of this decision, shows a clear lack of understanding to the needs of those in the surrounding area. The claim that it is not a downgrading of service provision is simply false. For all who have accessed the MLU, either as a service user, healthcare professional or student, this closure will have significant impact on practice and care provision. To our knowledge, no rationale has been given to explain the decision. National and international evidence supports the expansion of midwifery led services. Closure of the unit limits choices for pregnancy care in direct opposition of this evidence. We cannot emphasise strongly enough 1. The retrograde nature of this decision which flies in the face of all the international evidence on best birth practices 2. And which spells the death knell of the 2016 Maternity Strategy which was specifically committed to the expansion of MLUs, not their closure Our model of maternity care relies on the majority of women going through a system of GP referral to an obstetric unit or maternity hospital. Despite the National Maternity Strategy, the dominant model of care across all our 19 maternity units is a consultant-led model of care. We have only the two midwifery-led units in Ireland (Cavan and Drogheda) and midwifery clinics across the maternity system are far too few. -- In international terms, our model of maternity care does not offer women choice of models of maternity care, something the National Maternity Strategy acknowledges clearly. Indeed, the Irish model of maternity care is at odds with best international evidence on the effectiveness of models of maternity care - The 2016 National Maternity Strategy, called for many more MLUs to be built. Instead this has not only been completely stalled - its implementation committee has met only four times up to 2019 (PQ 14615-19; PQ 14616) and the budget of the strategy has been slashed - The HIQA maternity report (February 2020) highlighted the lack of progress in supported care pathways under the National Maternity Strategy The 2003 Hanly Report on medical staffing with its overall aim of increasing still further centralisation of all hospital services continues to cast a shadow over the relevance of the small Cavan MLU – which has never had the full support of senior clinical and management staff in Cavan. If it had, it would be used to capacity and would not now be ‘merged’ with the consultant-led services. Who is affected? *this is not an exhaustive list of affected groups* Pregnant people are entitled to choice in care provision. There is no evidence at present to show that this has been supported or considered in the move to close the Cavan MLU. We hope to hear from service users to determine what plans are in place for those currently booked in the unit, those who were potentially being transferred back to the service following obstetric assessment, and those who had previously or planned to access midwifery led care in Cavan. Supporting practitioners in the Cavan/Monaghan area to continue the provision of Midwifery Led Care is vital. Evidence of support and solutions offered thus far to the midwives within the unit is needed so that as a national community of professionals and experts in normal pregnancy care can come together to save Cavan MLU. Midwives are the experts in providing pregnancy care and a wealth of evidence supports this model, referred to as “supported care” in the Maternity Strategy. Student midwives who began their training from 2018 in Dundalk Institute of Technology must complete Midwifery Led Unit placement experience as a core area, a change from its specialist area status before 2018. This reflects the importance of midwifery led care experience in well rounded learning. If Cavan MLU were to close, students would be limited to the Drogheda MLU to achieve the hours in order to qualify and register as midwives. It is already difficult for these MLU hours to be achieved between two units with the number of students requiring the necessary time in midwifery led services. The limitations that this closure will place on students has immediate and long-term consequences. Students in the 2019 cohort were due to attend Cavan MLU for placement in March/April and must make up this time due to COVID19. These students are now in limbo regarding completing these hours and gaining critical core learning experience. USEFUL LINKS; National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026 >> https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/0ac5a8-national-maternity-strategy-creating-a-better-future-together-2016-2/ HIQA Maternity Services report February 2020 >> https://www.hiqa.ie/sites/default/files/2020-02/Maternity-Overview-Report.pdf HSE / TCD 2009 MidU study >> https://nursing-midwifery.tcd.ie/assets/publications/pdf/midu-report.pdf Association for Improvements in the Maternity Service Ireland - Midwifery Led Care information >> http://aimsireland.ie/midwife-led-care/#:~:text=Midwife%2Dled%20services%20for%20eligible,further%20attention%20 AIMSI “What Matters to You” Survey 2014/2015 >> http://aimsireland.ie/care-choices/ Bump2Babe – Cavan General Hospital survey answers CLU >> http://www.bump2babe.ie/all-answers/unit/0/ MLU >> http://www.bump2babe.ie/all-answers/unit/1/
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    Created by Laura Henry
  • Right to Work for Asylum Seekers in Ireland
    Asylum seekers are restricted from working in Ireland until they have been in the country for over 9 months. Prior to 2018 Asylum Seeker in Ireland were banned from working indefinitely. This was overturned because a Supreme Court ruling in a case, NHV, decided Ireland's policies violated fundamental rights. These historical policies restricting asylum seekers from working fuelled a cycle where people become trapped in direct provision centres and are subjected to inadequate living standards. The restrictions still imposed since 2018 are still much longer than other EU Countries such as Sweden and Portugal which allow asylum seekers to work immediately. Ireland had a recent chance to improve the lives of asylum seekers considerably and choose less restrictive options available to them when allowing asylum seekers to work. They chose lengthier waiting options for the right to work. This is contrary to recent rhetoric offered by some Irish politicians. (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/direct-provision-system-not-comparable-with-a-man-killed-by-police-varadkar-1.4270979) Allowing asylum seekers a right to work is a step towards combating racism in Ireland, slightly ameliorating the detrimental impact of direct provision in Ireland, and recognising the human rights and dignity of asylum seekers in Ireland. MASI are an excellent grassroots organisation who are campaigning tirelessly on this issues. They can be followed and supported here: https://www.masi.ie/support-us/ *The views expressed above are my own and are I am not directly attributing them to any of the organisations mentioned
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    Created by Cáit Nic Ghiolla Chomhgaill Picture
  • Living Wage post Covid-19
    Leo Varadkar said being better off on the unemployment payment rather than working is “not fair” and “not sustainable”, and he's right. It's not fair or sustainable that minimum wages don't meet the costs of living. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Protect people returning back to work. This pandemic has changed our lives, and our priority should be the health and safety of everyone in Ireland. That includes making enough money to live on. Sources: https://www.newstalk.com/news/varadkar-pandemic-payment-1018514
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    Created by Shae Flanagan Picture
  • EU citzens assembly
    Democracy needs to come from the ground up we need for all the people see demoracy in action. Each indidvual needs to be able to voice their concern or idea as long as it is not harmful or discriminatory to anyone else in or outside the EU. Then this collective voice needs to be brought to Europe and listened to
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    Created by Anna Doyle Picture
  • Protect Mothers Returning to Work in Covid-19
    In this together Or are we? The nice shiny ‘reality’ is we are all in the same storm – together. The harsh facts are, we might all be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. Women, mothers, returning to work from unpaid maternity leave, have been exiled to sea, in an unseaworthy boat. As you read this remember, that the majority of women on maternity leave in Ireland, are unpaid, with the exception of civil and public servants and a limited number of women employed in large private businesses. For the 26 weeks of their protected leave, mothers receive statutory maternity benefit provided by the state, provided she has made enough PRSI contributions. If you are a mother returning to work after maternity leave, a specially protected period of leave, enshrined in under Irish law with The Maternity Protection Acts, 1994-2004 and under EU Directive 92/85 EEC exists. These laws mean that if you have been on maternity leave, additional maternity leave, father’s leave, additional father’s leave or health and safety leave, you are entitled to: 1. return to work with the same employer or the new owner (if there was a change of owner); 2. the same job under the same contract as you had before; and 3. terms and conditions that are as good as those you had before and that include any improvements that you would have enjoyed if you hadn’t been absent. These are your legal rights as a citizen of this country and of the EU. They are not a privilege or something to be thankful for. A global pandemic does not change or impact these rights. Yet, if you are a mother in Ireland in 2020 returning from maternity leave, you are faced with total financial uncertainty and a complete lack of support. As you think about the scenario I am about to describe, replace the word mother or she, with your mother, your partner, your daughter, your sister, your niece or any woman that you know, love and cherish. The woman that you are thinking about, the person you love and care for, if she was on unpaid maternity leave during Covid-19, she is faced with a bleak choice, which amounts to a deeply unpalatable set of circumstances, different to any other worker in Ireland. If any other worker lost their job through Covid-19, if your income was reduced, or if you cannot work from home, whether self-employed or in employment, you can benefit from the Covid-19 payment or the temporary wage subsidy scheme. If however, you are a mother returning from unpaid maternity leave, you might be in the same storm as the rest of us but you are certainly not in that same boat. As a mother returning from maternity leave, your job is legally protected, however, if the business you work for is deemed an essential service, so remains open, or is about to reopen on May 18th, you are in a uniquely underprivileged situation. Remember all creches and childcare facilities are closed, and grandparents cannot help. At this point, a mother returning to work faces bleak options. Her employer can leave her job open to her, until childcare returns, but not pay her. So far, she is no different from any other employee, except, she is, as she cannot claim the temporary wage subsidy scheme. ‘The Scheme is confined to employees who were on the employer’s payroll as at 29 February 2020, and for whom a payroll submission was made to Revenue in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020.’ Simply put this means that a mother, who was on unpaid maternity leave, who is due to return to work after March 15th 2020, would not have been on payroll at the times stipulated by the legislation. If she was not on the payroll at that stage, the legislation specifically excludes her from the temporary wage subsidy scheme. The ‘confinement of the scheme to…’ exclusively omits one group of workers from the remit of the legislation: mothers returning to work after maternity leave. If her employer informs her that she has no job to return, her employer is then in breach of the Maternity Protection Acts, and EU Legislation. While this gives her recourse to take legal action, and avail of Covid-19 payments, the capacity to do so is the reserve of those who can afford it, and a massive financial burden on a woman with no income. The reality is she now has no job and will struggle to find a reference to find another one. Her other option is to ‘voluntarily’ leave her job. However, if she ‘voluntarily’ leaves her job she is excluded from claiming the Covid-19 payment. If she ‘voluntarily’ leave her job, she must then wait nine weeks before she can apply for social welfare payments. What does she do? How would you advise your mother, wife, partner, sister, daughter or friend faced with this disgusting decision? There is no advice. This is wrong. It fails our mothers and it fails our children. Let them move from words to action ideally, by passing an amendment to the emergency legislation that extends paid maternity leave for all mothers during Covid-19. This extension to their specially protected period of leave ensures their return to work, when it is possible, while also providing some financial security. If it is not possible to extend the statutory maternity leave, including the sentence, ‘with the exception of mothers returning to the workplace during Covid-19, who were on specially protected leave when financial supports were put in place’ to the Covid-19 payment or the Temporary Wage Subsidy scheme helps. This wrong must be fixed IMMEDIATELY and let us stand together, properly, for all women. Listen to Today with Sarah McInerny on RTE, speaking to Richard Grogan to hear more.
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    Created by Sinead Brady
  • Shut down Moy Park for Covid19 Testing
    Yesterday it was reported that a female worker from East Timor, Luciana Viviana da Silva (58), who worked at Moy Park’s Dungannon site, died from coronavirus. Covid19 clusters are rising in workplaces in the meat and poultry industries, which have been recognised to be particularly high risk for workers. Action must be taken now to ensure the scale of outbreaks in meat industry in the USA and Brazil are not repeated in Northern Ireland.
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    Created by Nicola Browne