Today in Dublin, there were three solidarity protests with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United (Disunited) States.
Unite blasts move since three-quarters of workforce facing jobs threat could easily remain on furlough
Aviation rescue strategy to safeguard future of both Belfast airports needed from Stormont
George Brash, Unite Regional Officer for security workers employed by Wilson James at Belfast International Airport blasted management plans for 54 redundancies – many of which were entirely unnecessary.
“Unite has received a HR1 notification from Wilson James for proposals to make redundant 54 workers at Belfast International Airport. This heartless decision by bosses is entirely unnecessary and avoidable. Three quarters of this workforce are currently furloughed under the government’s Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme and there is absolutely no need to push them onto dole queues and their families onto bread lines in the midst of a pandemic.
“The workers affected have been left reeling as they had rightfully assumed that their status would be protected through the furlough scheme until the airport recovered its footfall.
“This announcement is only the latest in a string of job-losses at Belfast International and City airports. As Unite has repeatedly highlighted, there is now a serious threat hanging over the future of both airports as vital security workers, baggage handlers, check-in staff, cabin crew and pilots have been laid off.
“Again we are left asking what exactly the politicians in Stormont are doing to safeguard the aviation sector and the future of these critical regional transportation hubs. Once again we call on Stormont political leaders to bring forward an Aviation Rescue strategy – Northern Ireland and these workers deserve better than continued inaction.
“In response to this announcement, Unite will continue to engage with management at Wilson James to attempt to reduce job losses and to obtain the best possible outcome for our members. We are doing everything we can – but we can’t save this industry alone”, Mr Brash concluded.
Protective notice extends to 175 Swissport employees at Belfast City airport and 112 workers at Belfast International
Stormont Ministers must now intervene to deliver Aviation rescue strategy as shadow is cast over regionally strategic airports
George Brash, Unite Regional Officer for Swissport workers at Belfast City and International Airports expressed his disgust over a management jobs threat issued to 287 employees.
“This evening’s announcement by Swissport confirms our worse fears after the company announced 4,556 job losses across the UK: 175 employees at Belfast City and 112 at Belfast International airports face the immediate prospect of redundancy.
“This will be devastating news for these workers and their families. It is also entirely unnecessary – the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme remains in place – these workers could continue to be furloughed. There is no need for any job-losses at this time. This is a disgraceful move solely rooted in the need to secure corporate profits.
“The situation in Belfast City Airport is particularly concerning as the protective notice extends to every single Swissport employee at the airport. Without baggage handlers, gate staff and security desk workers, the airport cannot operate; the scale of this announcement casts a shadow over the future of both Belfast airports, in particular Belfast City.
“The total inactivity of politicians in Stormont in the face of the mounting economic challenge to aviation has been nothing short of criminal. In March, at the start of the Covid downturn Swissport workers joined with colleagues from the collapsed airline Flybe to rally in front of Stormont to seek urgent intervention but absolutely nothing has happened since. In the intervening period, Belfast International has made 45 redundancies and the small operator, Jet2, 34 – while Easyjet has announced 4,500 job-losses across the UK although we haven’t a breakdown of how that affects Northern Ireland. There is a mounting crisis in our aviation sector.
“There is no reason for these jobs to go but the Northern Ireland Executive has offered nothing positive by way of a rescue strategy for aviation. In particular, there doesn’t appear to be anyone making the case in any serious or effective way in Westminster for Northern Ireland aviation jobs and the vital importance of both Belfast airports – key to securing the future economic prosperity of our region.
“It is now absolutely imperative that we see urgent action in both Stormont and Westminster to safeguard our aviation sector, its workforce and the future of regional airports”, Mr Brash concluded.
America is experiencing its biggest uprising since 1968 – the year Martin Luther King was assassinated. Despite the threats of more shootings, tens of thousands have joined in protests in scores of cities. The racist bully, Donald Trump, was forced to go into a White House bunker as hundreds gathered outside his residence.
The uprising is being fueled by two causes which are now intertwining.
The first is the open racism of US police forces. The public lynching of George Floyd, who was murdered in broad day light as he shouted ‘I can’t breathe’, has brought home the reality of that racism. Black people are nearly four times as likely to be killed by police officer as white people.
This arises because there is a deep structural racism at the heart of US society that stretches back to the era of slavery. Even after the slave owning states of the Southern confederacy were defeated in a civil war, their ruling class came back by using open terror. They resorted to lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan to drive black people back into a subordinate position. The poison of that racism has spread throughout US society and is typified by the remarks of Trump.
The second cause of the anger is the death of 100,000 people from Covid-19. Trump’s insanity in telling people to drink bleach symbolises the total ineptitude of the US state. The wealthist country in the world could not mobilise its resources to protect the poor, because it cares far more about profit. As a result, black people and poor people have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.
In order to stop the uprising, Trump has taken to denouncing the radical left and Antifa as terrorists. But the real terrorists are racist police officers with guns who seek to intimidate and promote white supremacy.
Nor should anybody be taken in by the constant media focus on ‘looting’. The reality is that tens of thousands are taking part in peaceful demonstration and looting arises because there is deep inequality and poverty in the US.
The only reason why a white police officer has been charged – albeit with third degree murder- has been because militant action led to the burning of police stations. The US ruling class are frightened -and they need to be.
People Before Profit in Ireland extends its full solidarity to the US protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement.
We want to build a world that is cleansed of racism, Trumpism and white supremacy.
In the meantime, please join the many protest that are being organised rapidly:
Saturday, 6 June 3 PM The US Embassy, Dublin
– Saturday, 6 June 3 PM The Spire
(These two are simultaneous events to give people a better change to attend – #Covid19 restrictions)
– Saturday 6 June 2PM Limerick, Arthur’s Quay Park
– Saturday, 6 June 3 PM Sligo Doorly Park
Union that represents workers warns airport bosses that meaningful consultation cannot take place at this time and constitutes an abuse of furlough scheme
Unite says application to the Tribunal for a protective award and individual unfair dismissal claims are likely
George Brash, Unite Regional Officer for workers at Belfast International Airport called on management to immediately rescind plans for a consultation on making redundant 45 employees.
“Unite has written to the airport management to challenge their redundancy plans. The plans were made public today on the same day that Unite launched our campaign for an aviation strategy – urging the UK government to intervene to safeguard jobs and skills in the aviation and aerospace manufacturing sectors.
“Meaningful consultation on the proposed job losses cannot take place at this time. Any dismissals made whilst the furlough scheme is ongoing would be unfair and will likely lead to an application to the Tribunal for a protective award on behalf of our bargaining unit and individual unfair dismissal claims for any members dismissed.
“The support package offered by the UK Chancellor in March seeks to ensure workforce ‘retention’ rather than ‘termination’ so plans by management to consult on job losses runs directly against the stated objective of the scheme.
Mr Brash continued by highlighting the union’s analysis that the move to make redundant workers who are currently furloughed was an abuse of the CJRS scheme and would be challenged.
“Belfast International Airport management is effectively seeking to be subsidised by the taxpayer to pay workers during the specified minimum periods of consultation. Paragraph 2.5 of the Schedule makes it clear that: ‘No CJRS claim may be made in respect of an employee if it is abusive or is otherwise contrary to the exceptional purpose of CJRS’.
“This is clearly an abuse of the scheme; indeed many of our shop stewards are currently furloughed which actively limits their ability to engage in this consultation. In addition they are unable to engage freely and fully with other furloughed members facing redundancy under the terms of the Scheme.
“If would be unfair to dismiss employees while the job retention scheme is ongoing. The company is seeking to consult prematurely, when meaningful consultation is impossible and proper consultation on ways of avoiding dismissals, reducing the numbers of those to be dismissed and mitigating the consequences of the dismissals, cannot be conducted.
“We have written to demand airport bosses immediately rescind their consultation on job-loss and immediately suspend the current process hastily undertaken”, Mr Brash concluded.
The murder of George Floyd, a 46 years old black man, in broad daylight in Minneapolis shows the shocking racism at the heart of US society.
George Floyd was pinned to the ground while a white police officer pushed his knee into his neck. It lasted seven minutes and even though George was shouting ‘I cannot breathe’ and ‘I am about to die’, a public murder proceeded.
Minneapolis has a long history of police racism against black people. In November 2015, a twenty-four-year-old African-American man named Jamar Clark and shot dead while he was on the ground.
But it is not just Minneapolis. Throughout the USA, the probability of being shot by the police as a black, unarmed person versus as a white, unarmed person was 3.49 times higher.
The US President, Donald Trump, is an open inciter of racist violence. He has denounced protestors as ‘thugs’ and then in an ominous phrase, tweeted, ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’. It was a phrase used by a Florida police chief who declared “war” and pledged a violent reprisal on black people in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1967.
Trump is now itching to send in the military to exact punishment on the protestors.
The police officers who murdered George Floyd will probably not be prosecuted. No charges were ever brought against Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, on Staten Island, whose arrest was also recorded on video by a bystander.
This is the real story behind an uprising that is now underway in many parts of America.
One police station has already been abandoned and then set alight because protestors know there will never be any justice.
Socialists in Ireland give their full solidarity to the protestors who are seeking justice for the murder of George Floyd.
More than two months on from the promised but yet to emerge government support for the UK’s beleaguered aviation industry, the UK’s leading aviation union is warning that without urgent action regional economies will take a big hit destroying the Prime Minster’s pledge to ‘level up’ the economy.
Research commissioned by Unite the union highlights the vast economic contributions airports make to regional economies and details the devastating effect that closure of an airport or severe reductions in activity would have on the local area. An estimated 1.2 million UK workers rely on aviation for their employment, many of them in the airports, airlines, retail, services and transport jobs associated with air travel.
The report is published 24 hours after the sector suffered yet another blow as airline easyJet announced plans to cut its workforce by 30 per cent. easyJet is a hugely important player in terms of regional airports with a base at Belfast International Airport.
Unite’s research details how Northern Ireland is particularly reliant on air travel to ensure connectivity to the UK mainland but its two major airports Belfast International and Belfast City are also major employers, supporting 4,000 workers who are directly employed at the airports. City of Derry airport also provides vital connectivity to the Northwest and plays a vital role in the local economy.
The new research Economic and social importance of the UK’s regional airports further develops the key messages found in Unite’s own blueprint UKaviation flying into the future which provides details of the actions needing to be taken by the government to protect airlines and airports and to preserve jobs and conditions in the sector, which has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unite is warning that without a specific bespoke package for the aviation industry tens of thousands of jobs could soon be lost. All airports are impacted and smaller regional airports may even be forced to close permanently
Unite regional secretary for Ireland Jackie Pollock said: “Airports are hubs for massive economic activity for our towns and cities, supporting jobs from cabin crew and ground handling to engineers and cleaners.
“But across the UK they are facing huge challenges at the moment and need urgent assistance to secure a future where they can continue to provide these vitally important routes and support millions of direct and indirect jobs.
“The prime minister himself made clear yesterday that he is committed to levelling up the economy, to spread the economic benefits more fairly. That really must mean helping our airports through these tough times as, possibly more than any other industry, they provide jobs and incomes in every corner of the country.
“To lose them or see them diminish as employers will open up huge holes in local economies the length and breadth of the country.
“It is crucial that regional airports in Northern Ireland are supported by the government to safeguard connectivity and to ensure our economy is not irrevocably damaged with mass job losses in a major employer at the heart of our economy.
“It is vital to preserve our regional connectivity and to secure its enhancement through support for specific routes through public service obligation funding.”
“Our airports are central to our infrastructure and vital for business, travel and even the NHS. They must be preserved for the nation’s benefit.”
Unite is urging those concerned to safeguard Northern Ireland’s airports to contact their local MP to lobby the government and explain how airports and the entire aviation sector needs specific financial support
People Before Profit in Ireland would like to express its sincere condolences to the family of Dr Abdullah al-Hamid.
We know that he was a fearless defender of human rights and had the courage to stand up to a brutal regime.
His name will be remembered as someone who fought the right of individuals not to be crushed by a powerful state.
We give our full solidarity to those who are trying to bring real change to Saudi Arabia.
In whatever way we can, in our small island, we will publicise the cause of human rights in your country.
Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine - Under the shelter of each other people survive.
It is within times of crisis when the thin veil of neoliberalism slips to reveal the emperor is not wearing any clothes. It exposes the sheer inefficacy of capitalism to cope with human crises and cater for the most basic human needs. In these times, when the capitalist state is left reeling, we see glimpses of community, solidarity and interdependence emerge once again - the very ideals neoliberalism has for the last 40 odd years attempted to erode and eradicate. It exposes that the ‘common sense’ manner of organising our lives, work and economy is entirely at odds with the will of the people but also, very importantly, it provides us with the opportunity to imagine a transformed world.
The Covid-19 global health crisis is one that required a global response led by health workers but with the consensus of almost everyone. Instead we face a piecemeal response, often in the form of repressive policing solutions that are not even particularly effective and where the borders between the states have undermined collective action and allowed the virus to multiply in the gaps.
By Keishia Taylor
A mass movement of women, workers and young people organised and won Repeal, despite the capitalist establishment parties dragging their heels. Almost two years later, women still bear the brunt of this unequal and oppressive system – we have unfinished business!
International Women’s Day, which was originated by socialist, working-class women, is an important day to mark the need for a socialist feminist mass struggle. Women are leading movements all around the world to challenge sexism, gender violence and oppression of all kinds, as well as neoliberalism and repression.
End femicide and gender violence:
We need a radical transformation of the legal and health systems to provide justice, protection and care for survivors of violence and abuse, and a movement challenging misogynist and entitled ideas about controlling women.
End the housing crisis:
We need a fighting housing movement for 100,000 public homes on public lands, affordable to rent or buy, and an immediate ban on evictions, rents cut to affordable levels and comprehensive tenants’ rights and protections.
Extortionate childcare costs are crippling families. We need to fight for free, quality, public childcare for all and support the childcare workers in their strikes for decent pay and conditions, as well as their trade union rights.
Low-paid, precarious work and poor conditions, particularly in the hospitality, retail and caring sectors, leave women more vulnerable to harassment at work – from customers, from bosses, from colleagues. The gender pay gap is 16% and growing – women are twice as likely as men to earn minimum wage.
We need to fight for:
For women, the perfect storm of housing, low-paid and precarious work, gender violence and sexual harassment, exorbitant childcare costs and a failing health system, means we have everything to fight for.
Every year, women perform €10 trillion of unpaid labour to take care of the home and family, while states tell us they can’t afford to provide for our needs. But the money exists in the pockets of the billionaires, corporations and elites! Their obscene wealth could be used for the benefit of society, from health, education and housing, to childcare and social care, to raising the minimum wage. And we can win it through class struggle.
The recent general election represented a resounding rejection of the status quo and a demand for change. We can’t rely on any parties that accept the logic of a capitalist system that places profit above the basic needs and rights of ordinary people.
We must build a strong, fighting, working-class movement of women, young people, workers and trade unions that can force the government into action, just like Repeal, and win important gains.
But ultimately to win equality, safety and freedom, we must engage in a united struggle for the radical change we need, and to replace this profit-driven system for one where it’s wealth is publicly owned and democratically controlled by ordinary working people.
The post Repeal was just the beginning –Fight back this International Women’s Day appeared first on Socialist Party (Ireland).
Tensions have been growing amongst the migrant communities in Lesvos since the beginning of January when the new right-wing government (New Democracy) implemented more aggressive migration policies with a view to “decongest” the Aegean islands and to stem the flow of migration. Deputy minister Stelios Petsas announced that “the government, from the first moment, followed a different policy on the refugee-migration issue. With a comprehensive plan based on four axes: guarding the borders, speeding up asylum procedures, increased returns and closed pre-departure centers.” What this translates to is increased spending on border controls, a staggering backlog of asylum claims, fast-track border procedures that fail to protect people (including children) from deportation if they are rejected in the first instance, even if they appeal, along with large scale confinement and detention.
People protest against the Pre-Removal Detention Centre in Moria Camp after an Iranian migrant was found dead, hung in his cell.