Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has told a gathering of trade union delgates that a ‘prosperous and fair Ireland’ can be created if people work together.
Speaking at the Irish Congress of Trade Union Conference in Derry this morning the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “I welcome this conference to my home City of Derry. This conference will discuss and debate issues which are as relevant to people in Derry as they are to people in Dingle.
“Economic development, social cohesion, justice, fairness and equality improve the lives of all the people of Ireland. The conference theme addresses fair employment and the rights of workers which are central to building a fair, inclusive society and a strong economy.
“We have been relentless in our pursuit of protecting the most vulnerable.
“We stopped the introduction of the bedroom tax, prevented unmitigated welfare cuts through agreeing a range of welfare changes to continue to support the most vulnerable across society, and provided free travel for pensioners.
“This Executive has created more than 40,000 jobs, spent over £90million a week delivering the range of health and social care services across the north, stopped the introduction of water charges, kept our rates bill lower than across the water, kept prescriptions free for everyone and protected free domiciliary care.
“In addition, we supported our students with tuition fees for local students at Queen’s and Ulster University which are a third lower than those studying in England.
Mr. McGuinness also pledged his party’s opposition to the ‘Tory assault on the trade union movement’.
He commented: “We will do everything within our power to block their anti-trade union legislation which is aimed solely at restricting workers rights.
“Workers have a right to trade union membership. They have a right to a living wage and they have a right to fair employment conditions.
“That is common ground on which we can stand with the trade union movement and I would again appeal for us to do that in the time ahead.
“To stand together. To work together and to struggle together.
“That is the only way we will halt the Tory agenda and together we can create a prosperous and fair Ireland where workers and citizens are valued and respected.”