Gregor Kerr

Major victory for INTO union grassroots as leadership issues directive against JobBridge

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In a statement issued after a meeting of the union’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) today (Thursday 17th November), the Irish National Teachers Organisation has said that the INTO “is not in a position to support the JobBridge initiative” and “will be directing members not to participate in the JobBridge scheme.” The issuing of this directive is a major victory for grassroots organising within the INTO.  When JobBridge was first announced by the government during the summer, and when the Department of Education and Science issued a circular on how it would be applied in schools in September, the union leadership’s first reaction was to refuse to issue a directive.  This despite the fact that it was clear to everyone that JobBridge was simply FAS’s Work Placement Programme (WPP) by a different name.

What is needed to Build a National Campaign against the Household Tax

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Workers Solidarity Movement member Gregor Kerr gave the leadoff at the session dealing with "Organising the Campaign" at the successful National Forum of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes on Saturday 10th September. What follows is the text of his contribution:

Organising against the household tax - You have a role to play

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Workers Solidarity Movement members are currently centrally involved in helping to establish a campaign against the new household tax announced by the government.  For this campaign to be successful it will have to be built at a local level in every area of Dublin and in every town and city around the country. The central plank of the campaign will be non-payment and it will be based on the successful anti-water charges campaign of the 1990s.

Mass Opposition to Proposed Household Charge - Boycott Campaign under way - But Sinn Fein Refuse to Support Non-Payment

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The announcement from the government that households are to face a charge of €100 per annum from January 1st with separate water and property taxes to follow by 2014 has met with fierce opposition across the country.  Radio and television shows have been inundated with texts and phonecalls from irate people who see this latest tax as a step too far and who have been pledging to resist the charge.  In a TV3 IrelandAM poll this morning, Wednesday, 87% of people answered ‘Yes’ to the question “Would you consider boycotting the household charge?”

News Of The World – Workers Lose Their Jobs, Murdoch keeps His Profits

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Very few progressives will mourn the passing of the ‘News Of  The World’.  When Rupert Murdoch’s son, James, announced that the paper was to cease publication many cheered.  Revelations over the past few days about the extent to which private investigators and some journalists and executives completely disregarded common human decency in their scramble for profits had exposed the tabloid as scurrilous and without shame.

Outrage At Paltry Fine For Death Of Worker

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A Dublin family has expressed its outrage at the imposition of a €100,000 fine on a leading construction company for the death of a worker in 2007. 28-year-old father of two, Eddie Fowler, died on 18th January 2007 following a workplace accident on the site of the Charlestown Shopping Centre in Finglas.  Mr. Fowler was fatally injured when he was struck by a plank which blew off scaffolding in high winds.  An inspector from the Health and Safety Authority, Kay Baxter, told a court hearing that workers should not have been allowed onto that section of the site that day. 

Israeli sabotage results in MV Saoirse withdrawing from Freedom Flotilla

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Attempts by the Israeli government to sabotage the International ‘Stay Human’ Freedom Flotilla to Gaza have resulted in 2 ships – the Greek-Swedish Juliano and the Irish-owned MV Saoirse – having to withdraw from the Flotilla following damage to both. An emergency demonstration was held at the Spire in Dublin last night to protest the sabotage, see the pictures below.

Minister for Education backs down in face of threatened protest

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Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn backed down in mid-June on his threat to amend Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act, which would have had the effect of allowing unqualified personnel to continue to work as teachers in primary school classrooms.  The Minister made his decision less than 48 hours before a protest organised by members of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) was due to be held.

What Recession? – World’s Wealthiest Individuals increase their Wealth

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The “World Wealth Report 2011”, published by finance conglomerates Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, has shown that the amount of wealth held by the world’s wealthiest elite increased by almost 10% in 2010.  The number of ‘High Net Worth Individuals’ (i.e. those with investable assets of over $1million) also rose last year – to 10.9 million.

Denis O’Brien shows that for Ireland’s elite the good times still roll

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Denis O'Brien image Some rights reserved by Pat2001 via flickrJust 12 weeks after the Moriarty Tribunal found that he made corrupt payments to Michael Lowry TD in order to influence the granting of a mobile phone licence, Denis O’Brien has shown that for Ireland’s elite the good times still roll.  Digicel, the mobile phone company wholly owned by O’Brien, has announced that its net profit for the year ending March 2011 increased by €120million.  In keeping with the true lack of transparency so beloved by our super-wealthy however, Digicel refused to divulge the actual net profit figure.  What was announced was that O’Brien’s own personal income from Digicel last year was €28million, plus of course whatever income he has from his various other companies and investments.

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