ICTU Global Solidarity Committee

Mike Jennings, Former IFUT General Secretary

The IFUT Executive Committee and Head Office are delighted that Mike Jennings has generously agreed to represent IFUT on the ICTU Global Solidarity Committee.  Mike has a wealth of experience of national and international affairs and we know that Mike will make a meaningful contribution to the important work of this Committee on our behalf.

The following is Mike’s report from his initial meeting:

Here is a brief report of the Congress Global Solidarity Committee meeting held on the 14th March 2018 where I have the great honour of representing IFUT.

There were 16 people in attendance.

A Summer School is planned.  Originally scheduled for Belfast this is now in doubt due to scarcity of and cost of hotel rooms (Game of Thrones is being blamed!). Suggestions for a theme are invited. 

Sustainable Development Goals:  We are going to protest at the Government’s inclusion of the Healy-Ray TDs in the campaign publicity.  Climate Change denial is in direct contradiction of one of the main SDG’s

The 4th World Conference of the ITUC (International Trade Union Congress) will be held from 2-7 December 2018 in Copenhagen.

ITUC has a campaign on Gender Based Violence see: Stop Gender Based Violence at Work

Ireland now has a seat on the Governing Body of the ILO.

We were addressed by a representative of Trocaire re their campaign to get Irish companies operating abroad to uphold employment rights and human rights in their work places.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has declared that the Dispute Settlement Procedures of CETA (and, by extension, TTIP) which have been the object of a vigourous trade union campaign are “incompatible with EU law”.

We were addressed by a young Palestinian woman who is an asylum seeker.  If she lived in Direct Provision she would be entitled to C.€19 per week but as she has chosen to try to live independently she is entitled to nothing.

Despite a High Court ruling that the ban on employment is illegal such asylum seekers are not entitled to have or apply for;

  • A Passport.
  • A Driver’s Licence.
  • A Bank Account.

So, realistically they cannot apply for a job and the only jobs they are allowed to take up must pay more than €37,000 (no, that’s not a misprint)!!

The government has not convened the multi-agency National Climate Change Advisory Group since no-one can recall.  We have asked Congress to formally protest this lack of activity (Storm Emma/Storm Ophelia/Storm Amber anyone?).

We have requested Eamon Gilmore, the EU’s special representative for Columbia to address us on the current worrying situation in that country.  This is pencilled in for April 9th.

In Jerusalem the Christian churches have closed historic churches including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to draw attention to Israel’s expropriation of church lands.

We have invited the Palestinian Ambassador to address us on following-up on Ireland’s unimplemented policy decision to recognise the State of Palestine 

Turkey:  I gave a report to my attendance on behalf of ETUCE at the trial of a large group of teachers and academics for sedition because they co-signed a letter calling for a moderate and respectful policy towards the Kurdish population.

The continuing level of oppressive action by the government almost defies belief (eg. Mass arrests, mass dismissals of teachers who then lose their right to teach anywhere and are also disbarred from social welfare, sacking of Heads of all universities, enactment of legislation providing money rewards for people to encourage them to make anonymous accusations of illegal activities against neighbours and colleagues, arrests for “anti-government” speeches even those made years ago.)

The following link is to a moving documentary on the indefinite jailing of a 17 year old girl which was circulated to all members of the Global Solidarity Committee - The People of Israel vs. Ahed Tamimi.

Next Regular Meeting:  23 May 2018.