Inaugural Mandate National Activists School 2019
A very successful event was held in Lusty Beg over three days from Wednesday 16 to Friday 18th October 2019. Members attended from 6 Divisions from an overall total of ten which was a significant indicator of the genuine interest our activists have towards progressing our political and social agenda through genuine discussion and subsequent direct action. Brian Forbes National Coordinator who organised the event commented, “Listening to the thoughts and views of our activists on a wide range of issues over three days was genuinely empowering and indicated a level of class consciousness and commitment to national and international solidarity that certainly gave me massive hope for the organising and campaigning future direction of our union. If we are to declare ourselves a member led union then we must listen to the viewpoints of our activists in shaping our future union strategies. Personally, I learned a great deal from these three days with some of our most dedicated and effective activists.”
This inaugural event had an eclectic agenda covering a wide range of important issues for our members including union democracy, structures and decision making, local council structures, the important role of women in trade union political organising, building union power and the urgent need for public housing. A range of excellent speakers both internal and external included Ciaran Campbell; Dave Gibney; Bill Abom, Stevie Nolan, Eoin O’Broin Sinn Fein TD and their Housing Spokesperson as well as a transatlantic hook up with a good friend of Mandate, UFCW Mobilising Director Alan Hanson and our brothers and sisters in the UFCW Local 400 bargaining committee who are currently engaged in two organising campaigns within Giant and Safeway Supermarket corporations. Our Skype session with Alan and our comrades in UFCW Local 400 was extremely interactive and definitely one of the highlights of the event as it brought home the message that American workers in retail experience almost identical workplace issues and struggles that their brothers and sisters here in Ireland experience. The phrase “a worker is a worker is a worker” was never more appropriate and despite what some employers would have us believe, we are all workers not slaves. The discussion and debate was excellent over the three days and resulted in many shared experiences and excellent inter-divisional engagement on the need for a well organised campaigning and fighting Mandate Trade Union.
Follow up action is planned with the divisions who participated and we will monitor the hopeful subsequent increase in union activity at local and national level by all participants at the school. It was an innovative and extremely encouraging first ever Mandate Activist School which is well worth repeating and building upon on an annual basis. So members should watch out for news of our second Mandate National Activists School in 2020.