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Labour Conditions in Limerick Highlighted Amidst Agricultural Revival |

Labour Conditions in Limerick Highlighted Amidst Agricultural Revival

In the midst of a resurgence in agricultural activities, the focus has turned to the plight of farm labourers in the southern region, particularly in Limerick. The challenges and triumphs of these workers have come under scrutiny, shedding light on the intricate dynamics of rural life.

Organisation among the labourers has been pivotal in addressing their concerns. The Land and Labour Association, headquartered in Limerick, spearheads efforts to advocate for the rights and welfare of agricultural workers. Managed by an elected committee of representatives from the working class, the association serves multiple functions. Not only does it operate a robust benefit society providing insurance coverage, but it also functions as a trade union, negotiating with authorities to secure better wages and working conditions.

Recent successes include a significant wage increase for men working on roads, achieved through a delegation to the Limerick County Council. Such victories demonstrate the tangible impact of collective action in safeguarding the interests of labourers, especially during periods of economic uncertainty.

The seasonal nature of farm work presents both challenges and opportunities for labourers. While winter months may see a downturn in agricultural activities, employment opportunities often arise in road maintenance. However, wages for farm work, though comparable to roadwork, may vary slightly, with some labourers receiving board in addition to their pay.

Politically, the Land and Labour Association has been active, advocating not only for better working conditions but also for broader social justice issues. Their involvement in securing reinstatement for evicted members and obtaining allotments of land underscores their commitment to addressing systemic injustices perpetuated by historical land policies.

Despite concerns over potential labour strikes, such events have yet to materialize, much to the relief of farmers who rely on a stable workforce. Unlike urban trade unions, the rural labour movement remains grounded in local realities, resistant to external influences.

A typical day for a Limerick farm labourer is arduous, starting before dawn and often extending late into the evening. The tasks are physically demanding, from milking cows to tending to crops, reflecting the resilience and dedication of these workers.

However, challenges persist, including issues of alcohol consumption and occasional tensions between employers and employees. Yet, amidst these complexities, there is a recognition of the historical injustices endured by many labourers, stemming from past evictions and land dispossession.

As discussions about labour conditions continue, it is imperative to acknowledge the multifaceted nature of the agricultural sector and the indispensable role played by its workforce. In Limerick and beyond, the journey towards fair and equitable treatment for farm labourers remains an ongoing endeavour, reflecting the evolving landscape of rural Ireland.

Dublin Leader – Saturday 03 April 1915

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