Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment

Affiliated to the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment

Is abortion a trade union issue? Some people say it isn’t. The Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment disagrees.

Women comprise at least half the membership of our trade unions. They shoulder a disproportionate share of the care work in families. They earn less than their male colleagues. But when they face a crisis pregnancy, the 8th Amendment forces them to find up to €2,000 to travel for an abortion for which they’ll probably have to take unplanned leave. Or they’ll turn to the internet for abortion pills and will not seek medical after-care because they face criminalisation and the risk of 14 years in prison as a result.

Ireland’s hypocrisy on abortion (you are legally entitled to travel for a medical procedure that is illegal here) endangers the lives of all women but places a terrible burden on lower paid and migrant women.

In short, abortion is a workplace issue.

It is also an equality issue. Women should have the same right to medical interventions as men. Also, your right to this should not be determined by how much money you have. For women who work, often on low wages, getting the money to obtain an abortion in the UK creates enormous difficulties.

The UN Committee on Human Rights, Government and other TDs, opinion polls and trade unions such as Unite recognise that until the 8th Amendment is repealed, nothing can be done to rectify this situation.

Mobilising trade union members on this issue could make a huge difference. It could put women and their rights – as opposed to conservative lobby groups – at the centre of the campaign and force the Government to deal with this issue now, not some time after the next election.


This branch [insert name of branch] calls for the immediate repeal of the 8th amendment to the Constitution.

The branch calls on the Government to put a proposal to the Dail to amend the Constitution to remove the 8th Amendment to the Constitution and to hold the referendum on this issue without further delay.

The branch calls on the Executive of this union to campaign for the repeal of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

This branch agrees to affiliate to the Trade Union Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

We call on all trade unions, their members and trade councils to work with us to secure a referendum to remove Article 40.3.3 from the Constitution. Our draft motion should be put to branches, industrial and trades councils. If you’d like someone to come to your branch or workplace to explain the work of this coalition, please contact us at Come to our next meeting on December 1, 6pm, in the Teachers Club. You don’t need to have a position in the union; we welcome anyone who is a trade union member and who feels that this issue needs to be taken up by the unions.

 Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment has members from SIPTU, Unite, TUI, Mandate, the INTO and the NUJ. Like us on Facebook:


Next meeting

Teachers Club, Parnell Square,

December 1 at 6pm


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