May Day is when trade unionists and progressive activists renew their commitment to bringing about positive change. This year SIPTU focused on delivering the message of the Respect at Work campaign at this important time; that we live in an Ireland where our wealth is becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, but we have the power to change it.

The country has become a playground for big business and the standard of living for the working class seems to be in constant decline. This growing inequality is the greatest problem facing Irish society today, the social problem that leads to all other social problems. Those active in our movement know the answer to it: trade union organisation. 

However, the lack of protections against ‘union busting’ in the Republic of Ireland is deterring many who want to organise from doing so. The Respect at Work campaign, which brings together SIPTU, the FSU, CWU and Mandate, is aimed at ending this situation.

If we want to organise the next generation into the trade union movement, we have to turn the tide on the right to organise and demand the respect we deserve at work.

We need to build a campaign that fights for a new charter of workers’ rights, one that gives us the legal protections we need to unionise. We need to build a campaign that fights for the strongest possible transposition of the EU Directive on the right to organise and collectively bargain.

We need to build a campaign that gives us the tools to stop the tide of decline.

Picture: SIPTU activists taking part in the May Day March in Dublin on 1st May.