May Day might be over. The sun might have forsaken us. But at least we still have public meetings to turn to.
The James Connolly Festival 2021 continues this week, with sessions on football privatisation, fighting racism, patriarchy and violence, the past and future of Northern Ireland, working in the arts, and history. The festival finishes up with the James Connolly Memorial Lecture from Vijay Prashad on Saturday at 2:30pm.
Unsurprisingly, the theme this week is all about workers’ rights. As part of its Workplace Democracy Campaign, on Wednesday afternoon SIPTU is running What Unions Want: Current and Future Trade Union Priorities. Then in the evening the union will go from talking about what is to be done, to Celebrating Trade Unions Victories – How We Won.
Comhlámh’s FirstWed debate is looking to Workers Solidarity in International Supply Chains. Given an increasing move to online purchasing in clothes, FirstWed wants to look at what this means for workers in garment manufacturing. They’ll discuss what supply chain solidarity means today, lessons from the past, and suggestions to strengthen workers’ rights in a world increasingly dependent on transnational labour.
Then on Thursday, the Congress Retail Sector Group is hosting a webinar on A New Deal for Retail & Essential Service Workers. Across the island, workers in retail, distribution, and other essential sectors were on the frontline over the past year, facing a far higher risk of contracting the virus in order to ensure the well-being of others. Yet these essential workers also happen to be among to lowest paid and most precarious. The Group says that “The applause has long since faded. Now we need to deliver a New Deal for our essential workers and help create decent work for all across both economies”. Indeed.
From workers’ rights to a workers’ party. The Politics of the Workers’ Party is on Thursday evening.
But that’s not all.
On Wednesday afternoon Belfast & District Trades Union Council and Reclaim the Agenda are asking Who gets policed? In this “taster session” they’ll introduce ideas about harm of policing and the criminal legal system. They hope that the session will start a conversation about questions of criminalisation, marginalisation and harm.
And in case you weren’t aware, the Government in the Republic is running a “Climate Dialogue” to consult the public on the Climate Action Plan and the Climate Action Fund. But does public participation translate into climate policy? Stop Climate Chaos and Clare Public Participation Network are running a seminar on Thursday called Climate Consultations: How to make your submission work. They’ll be looking at how you can use climate consultations to bring about real policy change, what kind of submissions have the greatest impact, and how communities and campaigners can come together to demand a just transition.