With the EU Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages and a national action plan to promote collective bargaining on the horizon, now is the time to shine a light on workers’ rights.


In Ireland, trade unions including SIPTU, the Communication Workers’ Union, Mandate and the Financial Services Union are leading the charge over the Directive under the Respect at Work banner.

The message is simple: we need real legislative change.

As the political landscape in Ireland and the EU shifts, the recent SIPTU/ICTU European election hustings in Cork, Galway and Dublin offered the ideal platform to communicate this message to politicians from a range of different parties. 


Over 150 union representatives across three constituencies attended the hustings to hear candidates lay out their positions on workers’ rights and the challenges facing union members. Powerful contributions from the floor highlighted the importance of collective bargaining and putting an end to union busting in the fight to achieve respect at work.

Candidates were shown a video featuring Tom, a delivery worker who was sacked for trying to organise a union in his workplace. They were told that Ireland was one of only two EU countries, alongside Cyprus, which does not provide trade union activists with legal protection prior to dismissal – and asked to commit to addressing that disgraceful shortcoming in our laws.

There was also debate over the upcoming election for President of the EU and the implications for workers’ rights with candidates such as Ursula von der Leyen and Nicolas Schmit vying for leadership positions. The consequences of that election battle should not be underestimated as the candidates offer starkly contrasting visions on worker and trade union issues.


At home, Ireland is in the midst of a low-pay epidemic, with more than 1 in 5 workers categorised as low paid. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for stronger worker protections, fair wages and a meaningful right to be represented by a trade union. 


As we navigate through the challenges of the cost of living crisis, the housing emergency and chronic low pay, it is imperative that workers’ voices are heard. We need politicians who understand the scale of these problems and are committed to acting accordingly. 

This Tuesday, we will be releasing a podcast from the Midlands-North West and videos from Ireland South and Dublin to assist our members in making an informed choice ahead of the European Elections on Friday, June 7th. 


The upcoming elections present an opportunity to vote for election candidates that prioritise strong worker protections, better wages and support our campaign to #StopUnionBusting.

 But the fight will continue long after the voting has ended.

If you believe that every worker should have the right to organise a union without fear of discrimination or victimisation, sign up as a supporter on the campaign website 

This Sunday Read was written by SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley