Category Archives: northern ireland

Come to the Socialist Youth Summer Festival

SY Summer Festival Brochure

SY Summer Festival Brochure

Friday 22nd August – Sunday 24th August

Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow

All Welcome

Cost: €65/£50 (Cost includes accomodation, food and travel)

To download the brochure please click here.

If you would like to book your place please send your name, address, phone, e-mail and any special food requirements you may need to:

Socialist Youth Dublin
P.O. Box 3434, Dublin 8

Socialist Youth Belfast
13 Lombard St
Belfast
BT1 1RB

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Successful protests against Bush visit

By Daniel Waldron, Belfast Socialist Youth

On 16 June, the slogan ‘No Bush’ was displayed on Divis Mountain, overlooking Belfast. While George Bush was greeted with smiles and handshakes by the politicians, this piece of artwork by local activists summed up the attitude of ordinary people towards the visit of the warmonger. Radio shows were flooded with calls about the massive disruption being caused to people by the huge police operations in place to protect this unwelcome visitor.

Bush’s visit was met with vibrant protest, much bigger than recent anti-war mobilisations. At a lunchtime rally at City Hall organised by the Belfast Anti-War Movement, 500 protestors gathered, many from nearby workplaces. The crowd was very youthful, with many saying they had never been to a protest before. Clearly, revulsion at Bush’s invitation and everything he represents had inspired a new layer of young people to get active.

Ogra Shinn Fein and SDLP Youth had members at the rally, protesting Bush’s reception while their leaders posed for the cameras by his side and smiled as he tried to bask in the reflected glow of the ‘peace process’. Rightly, this hypocrisy was denounced from the platform.

Unfortunately, the idea of building a political alternative to challenge the sectarian parties and the neo-liberal agenda that they share with Bush was not raised. Those, like Socialist Youth, who raise socialist ideas have been consciously excluded from BAWM platforms. The Socialist Workers Party, which undemocratically controls the BAWM, doesn’t want to risk ‘scaring off’ right-wing trade union bureaucrats.

Despite the intimidatory police presence, 200 made their way to the gates of Stormont, to bring the protest right to the local politicians’ front door. There were noisy chants and speaker after speaker denounced both Bush and the local politicians.

These protests were important and ensured that Bush was not able to freely portray himself as a ‘man of peace’. They also gave an indication that, by consistently connecting the crisis in the Middle East to the attacks on workers’ conditions here, it is possible to rebuild a mass anti-war movement.

Low pay, No rights, bullying bosses – Young workers ripped off

By Paddy Meehan, Socialist Youth Regional Organiser

Workers aged between 16 and 17 are legally being paid £3.40 an hour! As the cost of living continues to soar, workers on the minimum wage face a pay cut this year.

The government’s official statistics put the rise in the cost of living at around 4.3% while in October the minimum wage will go up by only 3.8%, making it an effective pay cut. How do they expect ordinary young workers to survive?

Some restaurant bosses, instead of even paying the pathetic minimum wage, are using a legal loophole to pay waiters below the minimum wage by using tips to top up their wages. This despicable practice has been exposed by trade unions which has forced the government to make some minor concessions. But because the minimum wage legislation is not being rigorously enforced, many employers continue to ignore the rules on the minimum wage. If the trade union movement were to launch a determined campaign to take on these miserly bosses much more could be won.

As the winds of recession chill the economy, bosses will seek to protect their profit margins by attacking workers’ wages, terms and conditions. Young workers in particular will be hit hard. As they have fewer rights, bosses will look to make young workers pay for the economic crisis. That is why young workers need to get organised to defend their wages and conditions.

Socialist Youth is campaigning to highlight the scandalous treatment of young workers in the workplace and to take action to force employers to raise wages and recognise young workers’ rights. In March, Socialist Youth took part in supporting a young migrant worker in Delaney’s restaurant in Belfast who was sacked for wearing a jacket at work. After a number of well attended pickets of the restaurant, she won back pay and was offered her job back. This shows that bosses can be forced to back off and young workers can win victories.

Ripped-off? Get in touch

If you are low paid, ripped-off by your boss or feel you are not being treated properly at work, then contact Socialist Youth to discuss in confidence how to expose your employer.

You can also get involved with other young people in helping to campaign against low pay and fighting for young workers’ rights.

Contact Socialist Youth at socialist.youth@btconnect.com or ring 07876146473.

Fight bosses intimidation

The Socialist spoke to a young worker who contacted Socialist Youth looking for advice on how to stop intimidation at work.

“My workplace is located outside Toomebridge in County Antrim. We are being threatened by our boss with the sack if we refuse to work overtime. I don’t feel comfortable working there. It isn’t a healthy working environment when you are constantly under threat of losing your job if you don’t work overtime.

“The company has already made an ‘example’ out of some immigrant workers. A number of Polish lads were sacked because they could not work overtime. Now a Slovakian girl has been threatened she’ll be next if she won’t work on Saturdays, even though she expressly told the boss she can’t.” The company in question boasts that it has been awarded an ‘Investor in People’ award which supposedly ensures a ‘good working environment’.

“Attempts were made a few years back to unionise the workforce. But because of the intimidation, people felt too scared they would lose their jobs and it didn’t work.”

Socialist Youth is to investigate this employer with a view to exposing this intimidation and illegal practice.

If you have an issue at work and think something should be done about it, e-mail Socialist Youth at socialist.youth@btconnect.com or ring 028 90232962.

Stand against homophobic bigotry

By Kevin Henry

Iris Robinson’s recent homophobic remarks, in which she described homosexuality as an “abomination” and said gay people could be turned into heterosexuals through counselling, exposed again the bigoted nature of DUP politicians.

Of course this is not the first time highflying DUP members have made homophobic remarks. Last year, Ian Paisley Junior referred to homosexuals as being “repulsive”. Robinson’s comments are even more disturbing in that they were said in connection with a homophobic attack on a gay man who was “left for dead” in Co. Antrim.

According to the PSNI, reported homophobic attacks are increasing sharply. Robinson’s remarks have caused those in the LGBT community to feel more fearful of violent homophobic gangs who will feel encouraged by the MP’s message.

The comments also play on the vulnerability of individuals who for certain reasons, like religious background, feel uncomfortable coming out. Increasingly figures, like Robinson, on the Christian right have been advancing the idea that there is a “cure to being gay”. This takes a particularly brutal form in America where shock therapy is being used.

Also, there is very little provision for proper education in school on issues of sexuality because it does not fit the needs of big business which education is increasingly geared towards. This in particular contributes to homophobic bullying. Homophobia is ultimately rooted in the capitalist system as a means of dividing workers and providing a scapegoat for capitalism’s failures.

The fight against homophobia needs to be part of a broader struggle of workers to fight for decent living standards for all and freedom of consenting adults to have whatever relationship they wish (including marriage) without fear of been considered inferior or isolated. A society which is not based on exploitation and oppression, a socialist society, is the only way which LGBT people can be truly liberated.

SY Belfast – End Low Pay

End Low Pay

 WE DEMAND

£8 minimum wage NOW
Abolish the youth
exemptions
End bullying, intimidation and poor working conditions
Trade union rights for all young workers

 As the cost of living goes through the roof the proposed increase for the minimum wage in October is nowhere near what is needed. How is anyone expected to live off this poverty wage?

Download the Socialist Youth Leaflet here.

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New Young Socialist Bulletin – May 08

The new edition of the Belfast Socialist Youth’s bulletin, the Young Socialist is now available.

In this issue we cover:

  • Fight for young workers rights.
  • The Socialist Solution to Capitalist Crisis
  • Book Review: France 1968, Month of Revolution
  • And More

To download a pdf copy click here

If you would like a number of copies posted out to distribute in your school, workplace or friends please contact Paddy at 07876146473 or the Socialist Youth Office in Belfast at 02890232962.