Worker's Rights

Archive for the ‘Dáil Issues’ Category

Worker's Rights

Socialist Party Councillor Clare Daly, a SIPTU shop-steward in Aer Lingus has condemned Aer Lingus management for what she called, “deliberate actions designed to provoke a dispute.

Councillor Daly was speaking following the decision of Aer Lingus to suspend over 100 of its cabin crew staff and subsequent decision to hire in aircraft. She said, “the full responsibility for this situation lies on the shoulders of management. It was their actions which led to the disruption of flights and inconvenience to passengers earlier in the week. This dispute has clearly been orchestrated by management in an attempt to break the cabin crew union.

Aer Lingus cabin crew have accepted that their hours of work will increase, but they correctly refuse to allow those rosters to be designed in a manner which would have them with no home/family life. Management seem to have designed rosters in a manner which make them unworkable for anybody with children or personal responsibilities. IT is clear that there are a whole number of aspects to the roster which could be easily changed while still giving the company the extra hours and not affecting the schedule. The fact that they have shown no desire to look at these over the past number of months indicates that this is about showing who is boss and nothing more.

It is absolutely scandalous,” Councillor Daly said” that this dictatorial management would be enforced. To call people into interviews individually is absolutely reprehensible in this day and age. IT is also somewhat ironic, that the company which has consistently over the past number of years cut millions from the staff budget in terms of reduced numbers of workers, pay and conditions on the grounds that they need to reduce costs, have no problem hiring in aircraft and staff, while hundreds of their own staff are available for duty.

Councillor Daly concluded, “I fully support the cabin crew in their just demand for a reasonable work-life balance. The days of workers being serfs at the beck and call of their owners should be well and truly over. I am calling on all unions at the company to come together and discuss a collective response.

Environment, Local Issues

I fully support the community in Rush in their determined battle to ensure that the proposed Eirgrid high voltage DC cable is re-routed away from the hundreds of houses on the route from Kilbush Lane, Skerries Road, Main Street, and Channel Road.

I salute residents who have organised on this issue, convened meetings and stepped up the pressure on both Eirgrid and the political establishment. We pledge to do whatever we can to support this critical community campaign in the coming weeks and months.

Route Can Be Altered!

It is a disgrace that given the concerns that have been expressed that Eirgrid are still stream rolling ahead regardless! Everybody agrees that an East-West interconnector is welcome. But just because the chosen route has been approved by An Bord Pleanala, doesn’t mean that it has to take that path.

How many people have previously got planning permission for something only to change their minds at a later date and submit new plans? This is a perfectly normal and regular occurrence and there is no reason why it can’t happen in this case other than the fact that there is a lack of political will to do so.
Fingal County Council Facilitates Eirgrid, not Residents!

Eirgrid has stated that the original plans to go through Ratoath were altered and the town bypassed at the request of Meath County Council. Fingal County Council on the other hand, rather than assisting residents in Rush has actively facilitated Eirgrid at every turn while simultaneously ignoring the community.

Council management gave permission to Eirgrid to access public roads at two locations in Rush without any recourse to the elected councillors. The antics that occurred at the Council meeting on Monday July 12th were astounding. Originally Eirgrid asked permission under Section 183 of the Planning Act for a way leave across the two roads. Under this procedure it is only the councillors who can decide. When it became obvious that the councillors would vote against it, the management pulled the item and said they needed legal advice and a special meeting was convened.

Meanwhile prior to that special meeting, Eirgrid came in for a meeting with Council management and suddenly decided to opt for a different method of accessing the land – a method which coincidently had been outlined by the Council’s solicitor!!! The Council management then granted them permission for this before the councillors meeting took place!! This is a total affront to democracy and a deliberate frustration of the wishes of the community. It was precisely because your campaign was having an effect on the councillors that they pulled the plug and decided to attempt to force it through by a different method. This should not go unchallenged and Clare Daly has requested a further legal opinion for the councillors on what has taken place.

Very Valid Reasons to Insist on Re-routing from the town!

It is quite clear that there are powerful interests pushing this project. Meanwhile for residents of Rush the facts remain;

  1. Rogerstown Estuary which is a special area of conservation, was not so special that the sewerage pipes couldn’t be laid through it, leading people to correctly say that there is no reason why the cable can’t take this route also.
  2. High Voltage DC cables are new to Ireland and should avoid population centres. In all other interconnector projects internationally, populated areas have been avoided such a the Moyle interconnector between Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the interconnector between Sweden and Poland. It’s not unreasonable for Rush residents to demand parity of treatment with everyone else around the globe.
  3. Studies conducted by the Oxford Childhood Cancer Research, among others have stated that the risk of Leukaemia is doubled at 0.4 Micronesia. Eirgrid has stated that the output will be 0.6 Micronesia at 10 metres. This involves hundreds of houses and the national school situated on the route where exposure will be 24/7. It is unacceptable to expect parents to expose their children to potentially serious adverse health effects. The precautionary principle should apply and the town avoided.
  4. It is galling to note that Lusk was rejected as a potential route because it was “heavily populated” and Donabate because it was “heavily trafficked”. We are not in any way suggesting that the cable should be re-routed through those towns, it shouldn’t but this example exposes how flawed the methodology used was, given that Rush beats both of them on both counts, with a bigger population and greater through flow of traffic. It’s clear that they got that wrong, so how much more is wrong also!

There is more than sufficient evidence to suggest that residents are absolutely right to hold firm on this and to insist on a re-routing. Eirgrid is a semi-state body, set up by and answerable to government. Government and the Minister have the power to halt the works and instruct Eirgrid to take a different route. There are three government TDs in the area, including a former Minister. These people are the people in power and either they exercise that power in the interest of the community or what benefit is it to residents having them there.

The clock is ticking. Already works have begun on the project. The community needs action. Substantial pressure must be brought to bear on the government reps, and they should be left in no uncertain terms that either this route is voluntarily altered by Eirgrid or residents will frustrate the work if necessary. Do they really want another Rossport on their doorstep?

Enough is enough! Reroute the cable away from Rush! I, together with me other Socialist Party colleagues, will assist this campaign in any way we can. If enough residents get involved and demonstrate their opposition then a U-turn can be forced. Don’t leave it to someone else. Contact the government TDs today and demand that they deliver.

Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Economy

FIANNA FAIL and the Green Party are pressing ahead with their plans for a domestic water tax. Environment Minister, John Gormely, has stated that he hopes to raise €1 billion in revenue – from the 1.1 million households in the country. This would average out at €1000 per household!

The Green Party, attempting to justify hitting working people with more taxes, have claimed that installing meters and giving people a “free allocation” of water is a progressive measure. This is a lie. There is nothing to stop future governments from lowering the amount of “free allocation” and thereby increasing the bills for people. The abolishment of the bin tax waiver and the massive increased cost of bin charges illustrates that once these charges are established the burden on people increases. Instead of wasting €500 million plus installing water meters, these monies should be used instead to start a campaign to fix the leaking pipe and bring them up to European standard given that UK studies show that meters/charging do not reduce water usage in the long term.

Because of the determination of this government to make us pay for the economic crisis, there is now the real possibility that instead of waiting for water meters to be installed, the government may push ahead with a flat charge from December’s budget.

I believe water charges should be resisted whether they are based on metering or as a flat charge. Bin charges which have led to an ever-increasing financial burden on households and to privatisation of the sector show that the proposed water tax is not in the interests of ordinary people.

A mass campaign based in the communities is necessary to force the government to back down and I am committed to helping build the new Anti Water Tax Campaign and prepare the ground for a mass non-payment campaign.

Economy, Local Issues

A major Local Area Plan for Oldtown/Mooretown – that is the lands on both sides of the Rathbeale Road, up to the Rolestown Cottages, joining up with the back of the Swords Manor estates, Cianlea & Lioscian on the one side, and Bunbury Gate, Castleview & Ashton Broc on the other, will come before councillors for a vote on 12 July.

This Plan will have a major impact on the future of Swords, but particularly for residents living nearby. The site covers 275 acres and proposes 3400 new dwellings, ranging from 2-5 storeys with a planned population of 10,000 new residents! This will alter the area beyond recognition.

Two public meetings organised by Clare Daly in May saw residents express amazement at this plan, with so many unoccupied houses already. Nobody had confidence in the Council’s promises that infrastructure would be delivered in tandem.

The Plan refers to many road improvements and a new distributor road around Swords but these are needed now. Both the Rathbeale Road and Brackenstown Road are at capacity. Getting out of the greater Glen Ellan area in the mornings is a recurring nightmare with bottlenecks at Castlegrange, Estuary Roundabout and Watery Lane.

Reference is made to new schools, community facilities and neighbourhood shopping areas, which sounds great but Swords Manor residents are still waiting for their community centre, decades after the estates were built! Ultimately, this Plan will be accepted, rejected or amended by councillors at a meeting on 12 July. It is our belief that it is premature and should be rejected and the zoning of the lands re-considered as part of the new Development Plan. Don’t wait until it’s too late – contact the councillors today. Let your views be heard. Contact details on the Council website www.fingalcoco.ie. Pressure pays. Make them represent you.