Trade Unionism & Working for Development #FirstWeds

To mark Mayday 2019, this month #FirstWeds will explore some of the themes and issues of trade unionism and working in the local and global community and development sectors.

From a global perspective, we can clearly see those trade unionists, and others involved in collective struggles against inequality and injustices, are specifically targeted because of their work. Yet sometimes here at home there might be a sense that trade unions and trade unionism feature less in development and community work.

Is there something about the nature of our work, or the small size and structures of many organisations that make trade unionism seem less evident than in places of mass employment? Or is this specific to Ireland?
Given the apparent gender imbalances in the community and voluntary sectors, and the work of care more generally, what role does feminism play in trade unionism today?

And how do situations of precarious work and unpredictable funding models impact staff turnover and the overall effectiveness of our work? How can we understand the relationship between the work of our sectors and its intersection with workers’ rights/protections and working for social change?

Join us on Mayday, 1st May, 7pm Teachers Club.

In conversation with Cathie Shiels and Janet Horner.

Cathie is a clerical officer in the civil service, and an active Trade Union member – the chair of her branch in Fórsa the public sector union as well as being active on their Youth Committee. She has a history of fighting for Workers’ and Women’s rights. She was a founding member and former co-convener of the Abortion Rights Campaign and recently travelled to Poland on behalf of ARC to share her experiences of organising to win abortion rights in Donegal with Polish women who are organising outside of the urban centres.

Janet is Trade Union Shop Steward in both development and political sector. Currently working as a policy advisor for a sitting Senator, Janet is also a social justice campaigner for cycling, women’s rights and environmentalism.

Speakers bios updated soon

We are delighted to be collaborating with Dr. Eilish Dillon and her colleagues at the Department of International Development, Maynooth University on the 2019 season of #FirstWeds – the First Wednesdays – debates, discussions, interviews and conversations. Tom Campbell will be our moderator on the night.

#FirstWeds will be livestreamed on Facebook. You can click attending on the event here:


Wheelchair and lift access to the meeting room is available on the evening, via the Granby Lane entrance. Contact Mark on 087 67 20303 by 18:30 to facilitate access.

Comhlámh acknowledges the support of Concern Worldwide in hosting the #FirstWeds.