SIPTU Contract Cleaners have vowed to “organise and fight” to defend the “threshold of decency” represented by the terms of the Registered Employment Agreement (REA) for the security and cleaning sector. Speaking to a crowd of over 100 people at a commemoration to mark International Justice Day for Cleaners, SIPTU Shop Steward Martin Brennan, a contract cleaner from Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, declared: “The fight for a fair economy will only be won by organised workers willing to take action. And the best way that people can become empowered is to organise and become active in a trade union.” The colourful commemoration was held at the statue of Jim Larkin in O’Connell Street, Dublin at lunchtime today. The event was organised by activists from SIPTU’s Fair Deal for Cleaners Campaign. Cleaners from a wide range of workplaces from across Ireland were joined by singers from the 6th class of the Central Model School, Dublin 1, singer and Mount Everest mountaineer, Frank Nugent, and Labour historian Francis Devine against a backdrop of giant red roses surrounding the famous statue for an event that made a direct link back to the Dublin Lockout of 1913 in both word and song. SIPTU Sector Organiser Orlagh Fawl explained: “International Justice Day for Cleaners is celebrated by trade unions throughout the world and commemorates cleaners who were beaten off the streets by police in Los Angeles on 15th June 1990 when they were protesting for the right of union recognition, the same right working people in Ireland fought for 100 years ago during the Dublin Lockout. Today was about communities and working people uniting together to send a clear message about our determination to defend decent jobs. We are not only drawing on the past, we are preparing for our future and this event marks a new phase in SIPTU’s Fair Deal for Cleaners union’s campaign to protect pay and conditions throughout the Contract Cleaning sector.”