Call for collective bargaining rights at Lockout exhibition opening
Larkin’s granddaughter says Lockout leader would ‘stand up’ about rights issue
President Michael D Higgins launching a tapestry depicting scenes and imagery from the 1913 Lockout at Liberty hall
The general secretary of the Republic’s biggest union has urged the Government to introduce a law recognising collective bargaining rights during the commemoration of the 1913 Lockout.
Joe O’Flynn of Siptu said Ireland was among just three EU states which did not have a law obliging employers to negotiate and engage with trade unions.
“Unscrupulous employers have taken advantage of that for the last 100 years,” he said, during the opening of three exhibitions on the 1913 Lockout at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks, Dublin.
The commemoration would continue until January giving a “short window of opportunity to make it happen”, he said.
James Larkin’s granddaughter, Stella McConnon, said the leader of the Lockout would be shocked if he were alive to see Irish workers denied this right.
“He would stand up and talk again,” she said.
James Connolly’s great grandson, Jim Connolly Heron, said “a lot of work had still to be done” since workers today faced emigration and unemployment.
One of the exhibitions displays objects from the era including Larkin’s pipe, his passport and a bullet-pierced hat belonging to Connolly.
It also includes the original Starry Plough flag which was first used by the Irish Citizen Army in April 1914. It flew over the Imperial Hotel on O’Connell Street during the 1916 Rising. This exhibition runs until January.
The two other exhibitions include one showing replicas of 18 guild and trade union banners, some dating from the 19th century, and a 30-panel tapestry, illustrating the story of the 1913 Lockout.
The tapestries were put together by community groups, women’s groups, school children and prisoners from Mountjoy and Limerick prisons.
The tapestries have already been on display at Liberty Hall and the National Ploughing Championships. These exhibitions run until November 14th.