Socialist Party
| Print

18 January 2002

Northern Ireland: Workers Strike Against Killings

UNDER INTENSE pressure from trade union members, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have called a half day strike on 18 January in protest at the spiralling wave of sectarian attacks and threats.

Peter Hadden, Belfast

Last week saw vicious riots across much of north Belfast. School students from both Catholic and Protestant schools were threatened and attacked. In one incident a gang of men, at least one armed, forced their way into a Catholic school and wrecked staff cars in the car park.

On Saturday morning the violence worsened with the murder of a young Catholic postal worker, Daniel McColgan as he arrived for work in the Protestant Rathcoole estate near North Belfast.

The UDA carried out this killing, using the cover name, the Red Hand Defenders. It was followed with a threat that all Catholic postal workers and all Catholic staff in schools are now 'legitimate targets'.

Postal walk-out

This latest situation follows weeks of attacks on workers, especially those providing services to working-class communities. Late last year bus drivers withdrew night services from parts of Belfast following attacks on drivers, some sectarian, some because of vandalism.

Just after Christmas bus drivers struck to try to resolve this situation. Ambulance personnel have also been attacked and a mood for strike was only averted when UNISON officials persuaded members to postpone a ballot for two months.

Firefighters have also been under attack. In Portadown a fire crew was attacked by a crowd of 50 hurling missiles and bottles. A train driver has also been injured by a missile. Park rangers and other city council staff have received threats. Most recently a threat has been issued to Protestant council staff claiming to come from the Catholic Reaction Force.

Workers have had enough. Union members have bombarded their officials with demands for action. The phones have not stopped in many union offices with workers complaining that they're having to work under threat and insisting that the unions do something.

Following Daniel McColgan's killing the Communication Workers Union led the way. The main sorting office outside Belfast immediately walked out. The union has called a total stoppage of all postal collections and deliveries until 16 January, the day after the funeral.

All indications are that the ICTU strike and rally will get a huge response. Socialist Party members in the workplaces have been the most vocal in demanding a stoppage and are now building to make it a success.

An emergency meeting of trade union members of the party was held on 13 January where initiatives were discussed in the teaching unions, in the public-sector union NIPSA, in the FBU, the T&GWU and CWU.

The union leaders want this rally just to let off steam before handing responsibility to the politicians. But local politicians are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The strike needs to be followed by further protests and by local initiatives by the unions along with community organisations. These bodies need to act to ensure that those providing services in the areas can do so without threat. They also need to discuss how the working class can act to challenge and overcome sectarianism.


School Students United

A NEW campaign "School students UNITED against sectarianism" has been launched. Socialist Youth members took this to Belfast's streets last Saturday demanding free access for all students to schools.

The campaign calls on school students, Catholic and Protestant, to unite to fight for more resources for education and against privatisation and not to be divided along religious lines. This message got an excellent response.

Now "School students UNITED against sectarianism" are organising a school students' meeting on the day before the trade union rally. It will discuss a call for students from all schools to join the strike and march together to the union rally.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/25050




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle23 Feb Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

triangle21 Feb Facebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity...

triangle21 Feb Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangle21 Feb How can young people and students fight the Tories?

triangle21 Feb Northern Ireland talks process paralysed

triangle21 Feb Chatsworth ward victory shows we can save our NHS

triangle20 Feb After 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle26 Feb Teesside Socialist Party: The National Question

triangle26 Feb Leeds Socialist Party: Organising tenants in the private rented sector

triangle27 Feb Cardiff West Socialist Party: The campaign for a 10 an hour minimum wage

triangle28 Feb York Socialist Party: Perspectives from the National Commitee

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999