By VIEW deputy editor Kathryn Johnston
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), brought a stark message about Brexit during a visit to Belfast last week.
Ms O’Grady, speaking at an event in the Mac to discuss Labour and the foundation and development of Northern Ireland, said: “No deal doesn’t mean a clean break. It’s not as if it’s going to be a short, sharp shock. The fall-out will poison our political life for years to come. We’ve seen what the neofascists are capable of – in Britain, the memory of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox is still raw.”
She also paid tribute to the journalist Lyra McKee who was shot dead in Derry in April, this year.
“We know from the murder of our NUJ sister Lyra McKee; peace should never be taken for granted. We’ve known from the outset that a hard Brexit means a hard border.”
The meeting was part of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions’ contribution to the Decade of Centenaries.
Ms O’Grady said: “We are a movement of, and for, working people. And workers need us like never before. Trades unionism is the greatest force for social and economic justice I know and nowhere more so than here on the island of Ireland.
“Last month the TUC was proud to welcome workers from Harland & Wolff to our Congress.
‘An iconic firm with a proud workforce – they refused to give up and let their yard die. That’s the difference trades unionism makes. Those trade unionists have not sat on their laurels and basked in the glory.
“Instead, they have brought support to the workforce at Wrightbus in Ballymena – a viable manufacturing business, with a union determined to save that site too.”