Women are not only over-represented in low paid jobs, 40% of working women are working part time against only 6% of men. Most of these jobs are an extension of work which women have traditionally carried out unpaid at home. The ideology of women’s second-class status – which has its roots in the development of class society thousands of years ago – has been adopted and adapted by capitalism to maintain its profits and its rule.
After sixteen weeks struggle and numerous ups and downs, Belfast’s sacked traffic attendants have finally reached an end to what has been a hugely important dispute for both the workers involved and the wider trade union movement.
The dispute started at the beginning of April when the traffic attendants were sacked for walking out of work on a half day protest against atrocious working conditions. Their employer, NSL (formerly NCP), initially responded by offering to enter talks about the issues the workers had raised but instead quickly moved to sack the 26 workers accusing them of taking illegal industrial action.
CHRIS O’KANE, one of the leading organisers of the sacked traffic wardens who are fighting to be re-instated spoke to The Socialist about their struggle.
“In April, 26 of us took part on a half day stoppage after our employer, National Car Parks, refused to deal with a mountain of grievances we had raised over months.
THE RECENT annual conference of the largest trade union in Northern Ireland, NIPSA, has delivered a significant change in the make up of the union’s elected leadership.
All the key positions in the union including President, Vice President and Treasurer have been won by left wing candidates. For the first time in its history, the important Civil Service Group Executive which deals with terms and conditions for Northern Ireland’s civil servants has an elected left wing majority.
THE LOWEST paid staff in the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) are angry and frustrated that more than a year after the Assembly First Minister Peter Robinson publicly admitted that they had been discriminated against for decades, they are still waiting for the money they are owed. Some continue to be underpaid by as much as £5,000 per year.
Their fury has led them to take matters into their own hands and a template letter to MLAs has spread like wildfire. They have organised meetings with political parties and one of those directly led to a debate in the Assembly and the passing of a motion which called on Nigel Dodds to ensure that staff receive the money they are owed within three months. The DUP amendment which sought to remove the three month deadline was withdrawn when it was clear there was no justification for the delay.