Mayday in Dublin was on the evening of May 1st while in Belfast it took place on Saturday May 4th. I managed to get to both events with a camera, I wanted to get to the Belfast one in particualr to build up my library of stock photos from the north, and getting a load of northern union banners in a single day made sense. Below is my write up of the Dublin Mayday march and photo slideshows of my better shots from Dublin & Belfast.
Photos from Mayday march Belfast, see also the WSM Facebook album of photos from Mayday in Belfast
Mayday in Dublin save a collection of historic trade union banners and the Fintan Lalor pipe band lead over 1,000 people from the Garden of Remembrance to Liberty Hall. The march is organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) and featured ten banners created for the ITGWU by the artist Jer O’Leary with images of militant syndicalist trade union leaders Jim Larkin and James Connolly and scenes from the 1913 Lockout.=
The 1913 Lockout was a key moment in the development of trade unionism in Ireland and the theme was continued by Spectacle of Defiance community alliance dressed in costumes of the 1913 period with a living Jim Larkin statue by Equal Ireland.
After the march DCTU President Mick O’Reilly, declared that the trade union movement was facing an “economic, cultural and political war and that May Day is about solidarity. Now, more than ever, the trade union movement needs to stand together in solidarity to protect the interests not just of our members, but of all those who are bearing the brunt of continued austerity policies.”
He also declared from the platform that the huge No vote to Croke Park 2 meant that the deal was finished and that this meant it was important for all trade unionists to get organised in order to win any industrial conflict if the governement tried to impose cuts.
The Origins of Mayday are in the anarchist led 8-hour day movement of 1886 in Chicago and the sentending to death of 7 anarchist union organisers who headed up that movement. The Workers Solidarity Movement took part in the Mayday march and distributed leaflets with the text below as part of our work to see the fight against the public sector cuts being generalised beyond the ranks of public service workers.
--- WSM leaflet distributed on march follows ---
The massive vote by union members to reject the 'Croke Park Extension' proposals was a clear and unambiguous rejection of government attempts to impose yet another 1billion of austerity cuts on public service workers. It was also a clear statement of opposition to the trade union leadership's decision to enter talks on the basis of these cuts in the first place.
We need to organise now to resist attempts by government to impose paycuts through legislation, and to prevent the trade union leadership going back into talks to "tweak" CPII.
The fight against threatened paycuts is a fight that should unite all workers - public and private sector. If the government is successful in driving down wages in the public service even further, private employers will be rubbing their hands in glee and will be eagerly waiting to pass on those paycuts to their employees.
This is also a battle that should concern all of us who use public services - schools, hospitals, dole offices.... The agenda at play is to both cut the wages of public servants and run down the services available to us as citizens. It is in all our interests to oppose such an agenda.
To do so we need to build for sustained strike action that will shut down the entire public service and bring the country to a halt. For this to be successful it will need the active involvement of other groups targeted by austerity and of all workers - complementing and supporting the strike action by acts of mass civil disobedience. In such a scenario, everyone has a role to play.
To discuss these issues, Workers Solidarity Movement is hosting an open discussion entitled 'After Croke Park - Winning the Fight - Organising Together' in the Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 on Wednesday 8th May. We want to bring together people from all unions and none to discuss with each other how each of us can contribute to the building of such a movement.
Please come along and join in the discussion (Facebook event)