Delegates at the ICTU Women’s Conference 2024 have backed the trade union campaign for the ‘Right to Organise’ all workers for collective bargaining in their workplaces.

Two motions endorsing the campaign were unanimously passed by over 150 delegates attending the conference that took place on International Women’s Day. 

SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, said: “The right to organise into a trade union and engage in collective bargaining on issues such as pay and conditions with your employer is something that has been denied to workers in Ireland for far too long.

“It is a fundamental right which is recognised in nearly every other developed democracy around the globe. The EU Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages, correctly, identifies this right as a key lever for assisting workers in achieving greater pay equality which in turn creates fairer, happier and more economically productive societies.”

She added: “The proper transposition of this Directive into Irish law, in a manner which is truly aligned with its objectives, is the most important issue for trade unions in our country at this time.”

SIPTU activist and care sector worker, Ann Marie Tibby, said: “The power of workers lies in their ability to organise, to come together as one voice, and to demand fairness and justice in the workplace and beyond.

“Too often, union activists are targeted, victimised, and even dismissed for daring to stand up for their rights. This behaviour by unscrupulous employers not only undermines the dignity of workers but also deprives them of a fundamental human right – the right to balance the unequal power dynamics inherent in the employer-employee relationship.”

SIPTU activist and National Equality Committee member, Yvonne Mefor, said: “Unionisation gives workers the tools that they need to tackle low pay and poor working conditions in the workplace. It empowers workers to address gender inequality, precarious work and bogus self-employment across the labour market.

“Unionisation also provides working people with a powerful vehicle with which to campaign on the social, economic and political issues which affect their lives such as housing, healthcare, education and public services.”

Excerpt from Work Matters

by Financial Services Union | Ethel Buckley on the Right to Organise