“Know your rights, know when you’re being treated fairly and unfairly in a job, know there are unions you can join that will support you,” said Lucien Waugh-Daly, DCU Students’ Union’s (DCUSU) Vice President (VP) for Academic Affairs, when asked for what he wanted students to take away from Trade Union Week.
The event, which ran over the past week, featured guest speakers from different Irish trade unions and short social media videos informing students on various union works from both academia and outside the campus experience.
Videos posted by the SU during the week included information about why they think it’s important to join a Union and the Debenhams’s worker’s strike.
Students were told about how they can access the Worker’s Rights Centre as a benefit from being a Student’s Union (SU) member, due to the agreement between the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU).
The Centre gives students advice and consultation on any dispute they may have according to the video.
“Unions, at the end of the day, are what gave us the weekend, bank holidays, all of those really important rights,” said Craig McHugh, the Vice President for Campaigns at the USI, in this first video posted on Monday.
Speakers included Catherine O’Connor from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) about nurses’ rights and representatives from both teachers’ unions the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO).
When asked about the issue’s teachers face working during the COVID-19 pandemic, Waugh-Daly said: “Teachers Unions are working really hard right not to ensure the safest work environment for teachers as possible, especially for young teachers.
“We obviously have loads of students in DCU both studying primary and secondary teaching. It’s important for the Unions to help with that and they have been doing so.”
Waugh-Daly said the week was a central part of his platform when running to a part of the SU team.
“My original plan back in February would have been to bring speakers from loads of Unions to campus to give talks in the U during the week, and down in St Pats as well,” he said.
“I think that I’ve been able to put together an exciting schedule in spite of campus not being particularly open right now, and that’s a testament to the extent to which students are willing to interact with online material so much of the time.”
He also stressed the help he received from his colleagues at the SU and the different speakers at the talks during the week.
The SU also created a new website for information regarding unions that are relevant for students at https://www.dcusu.ie/unions.
Image Credit: Lauren Conway