here - Irish Congress of Trade Unions

100 years of collective bargaining
a tribute to those brave, beautiful and extraordinary women whose unfinished
revolution we have inherited
Esther Lynch
Legislation and Legal Affairs Officer
To outline lessons from our past that inform our
current thinking about collective bargaining rights
To take inspiration from the actions of trade union
women who fought for collective bargaining rights
To set out trade union demands for legal reform in
respect of the right to collective bargaining in Ireland
Beatrice Webb coined the
term collective bargaining
The thinking behind the Combination Acts outlawing
unions hasn’t gone away…
'We declare that we do not belong to the society called the
'Union', or any other society … which has for its object any
interference with the rules laid down for the government of
mills or manufactories.
We agree …not to be members of, or be connected with, any
such society, while we remain in our present employ…
And if we are discovered to act contrary to the above
agreement, each of us so offending will forfeit a sum equal to
a fortnight's wages; and our masters shall have power to
deduct the same from our wages, or discharge us from their
employ without any notice, at their own option.‘
I hereby undertake to carry out all instructions given to
me by or on behalf of my employers, and further, I agree
to immediately resign my membership of the ITGWU (if
a member) and I further undertake that I will not join or
in any way support this union.
Freeman’s Journal, 8 October 1913.
no collective bargaining
here or else …
Taff Vale Railway Co v
Amalgamated Society of
Servants [1901]commonly
known as the Taff Vale
case, held that unions
could be liable for loss of
profits to employers that
were caused by taking
strike action
1888 Matchstick workers
The Strike Register shows
many workers had Irish
Rosie Hackett
Mary Ellen Murphy
Sentenced to one month in
custody for 'assaulting one
of the girls employed by
Jacobs by giving her a box
on the face and calling her
a "scab".
Dr Kathleen Lynn
Ms Montefiore
‘ Dress suitably in short skirts
and strong boots, leave your
jewels and gold wands in the
bank and buy a revolver.
Don’t trust to your ‘feminine
charm’ and your capacity for
getting on the soft side of
men, but take up your
responsibilities and be
prepared to go your own way,
depending for safety on your
own courage, your own truth
and your own common sense’
Helena Maloney
Delia Larkin -summing up
the aspirations of the
all we ask for is just shorter
hours, better pay and
conditions of labour
befitting a human being
Article 23. 4 The right to
join trade unions
and the right to
bargaining :Everyone
has the right to.. join
trade unions for the
protection of his
interests ;
Programme for Government …
‘We will reform the current law on employees‟ right to
engage in collective bargaining (the Industrial Relations
(Amendment) Act 2001), so as to ensure compliance by
the State with recent judgments of the European Court of
Human Rights.
 Ensure respect for the
right to organise by
protecting workers from
penalisation by
 Place a legal duty on
employers to respect
right to collective
 Participate in meetings to discuss union collective
Distribute, read and discuss union literature ;
Wear union badges to show support for the union;
Organise in their union without fear of reprisals;
Be represented by their union for collective bargaining
These rights are for all workers including freelancers
and other economically dependent self-employed.
 Dismiss, threaten to terminate or not renew a contract; layoff,
discipline, harass, transfer, or reassign a worker because they
support the union;
Close or threaten to close the place of employment or take away
benefits or privileges in order to discourage union activity;
Promise employees a pay increase, promotion, benefit or special
favor if they oppose the union;
Ask the worker their opinion of the union.
Ignore or refuse workers’ requests to bargain collectively through
union representation;
Establish phoney employee associations under the domination
and control of the employer;
Keep a ‘blacklist’ or refuse to hire someone because they support
the union;
 Legal duty on employers to put in place ‘adequate and
suitable’ arrangements for ‘collective bargaining’
 Define ‘aadequate and suitable’ arrangements for
collective bargaining to include an obligation to
respect the right to organise; and to be represented by
a trade union for the purpose of collective bargaining;
 Establish criteria to ensure the genuine ‘independence’
of the negotiating parties
 Prohibit employers creating in-house associations as a
means to frustrate and undermine trade union
collective bargaining
 Prohibit prevent employers ‘interference’ or the use of
‘inducements’ or other measures, policies, acts
calculated to induce workers not to join’ or to give up
their trade union membership, or to not exercise other
trade union rights such as the right to collective
 Workers should be able to organise and bargain
collectively free from coercion, intimidation,
interference and retaliation
 Prevent the unfair dismissal or other prejudical act
from occurring!! – New Type of Interim Injunction
 Dissuasive sanctions !
 Unions have rights too…
We will make our own history
We must learn the lessons from the past
We can take strength from trade union women past and
Each of us has inherited the fight for trade union rights
Thank You for listening