SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, has called for a radical overhaul of the Unfair Dismissals Act to ensure that employers can no longer find it “cheap and easy to fire union activists”. Speaking at the ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference in support of a motion calling for a trade union campaign on the Right to Organise, Buckley said that statutory protections and facilities should be provided to allow union activists to carry out their role.  Referring to a new EU Directive which provides for a large scale expansion in collective bargaining coverage, Ms Buckley said that it would only increase trade union membership if there is framework of support and protection for trade union activists in workplaces across Ireland. “Collective bargaining and union organising are intrinsically linked. They are two sides of the same coin. Collective bargaining coverage does not equate to trade union membership.  Expansion in collective bargaining coverage does not a single additional union member make. What we need is a ‘Right to Organise’ framework of supports and protections which would include three main elements.  “Such a framework would make it safer for workers to unionise and would involve a radical overhaul of the Unfair Dismissals Act so that it is no longer cheap and easy to fire union activists. It would provide statutory protections and facilities for union representatives to carry out their role and it would provide access for full-time union organisers to workplaces so that we can ask workers to join the union.”