Housing, the climate crisis and union demands for a four-day working week were among the topics of conversation at Fórsa’s annual campaigning summer school at the end of last month. Over 50 activists attended the two-day event.
National Economic and Social Council director Rory O’Donnell spoke on a panel with housing analyst and commentator Lorcan Sirr. The key message from that session was that Ireland needs to continue the resumption of social housing construction and widen provision to affordable or cost rental public housing to tackle the current crisis.
John Barry, professor of green political economy at Queens University – who gave the keynote address at Fórsa’s recent just transition network launch – told participants that a transition to a low-carbon economy was inevitable. “It’s up to us to decide how just that transition is,” he said.
Speaking on the same topic, Louise Fitzgerald of UCD and TASC policy officer Séan McCabe emphasised the importance of an equality-focused approach to climate action.
Kate Bell of the Trade Union Congress, which is Britain’s equivalent to ICTU, spoke about ‘time theft,’ or employers who expect staff to work beyond their contracted hours.
The panel focussed on campaigning to ensure workers benefit – through reduced working time – from increased productivity arising from technological advancements. ICTU’s social policy officer Laura Bambrick, Alice Martin of the New Economics Foundation, and Fórsa campaign director Joe O’Connor also spoke.