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Archive for June, 2014

WHAT IS TO BE DONE IN TRADE UNIONS?

Support The Nurses Strike!

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HOPE FOR CHANGE IN TRADE UNION MOVEMENT

The First Genuine sign of hope in the workers movement for years was the huge participation IN THE NURSES MARCH LAST SATURDAY including the participation of some trade unions
The Two Biggest Trade Unions , SIPTU and FÓRSA , WERE ABSENT

https://wp.me/pKzXa-ls
AT LEAST 40,000 Marched On the Nurses Demonstration .
Trade Unions Who Marched With The Nurses:
MANDATE, ASTI, CWU, OPATSI(Plasterers), UNITE The Union, Northern Ireland Public Services Association(NIPSA Belfast Branch), Dublin Trades Council, Waterford Trades Council, Dublin Colleges Branch TUI (But not TUI Executive) , TUI Grassroots (Rank and File Organisation), INTO Dublin District (But not INTO Executive). There was also a contingent from the Financial Services Union (FSU-old Bank Officials Association).
But we must not get over hopeful. Very much remains to be done.
Not alone did the two biggest trade unions fail to take part, Siptu which has 5000 nursing members, is not honouring the INMO pickets . The head of SIPTU Health Division publicly criticised the strike in advance-a godsend to government. Fórsa (Merger of IMPACT, PSEU,CPSU) issued a statement saying that it would insist that any concession to the nurses would go to its members. This was the false rational being used by government to reject the nurses claims. If FORSA genuinely wanted to get pay increases for its members, it would at worst have remained silent until the nurses won. Its statement militated against both the nurses and its own members getting pay increases ! Like SiPTU it was directly collaborating with Government against the nurses. This is the sort of Corporatist trade unionism which was favoured by Mussolini
It gives me no pleasure to say these things. My father was one of the founders of the Health Division of ITGWU through the mental hospitals, my brother was chair of the Health Executive of IMPACT before he became a TD. I have been elected President of TUI and I was very dissappointed that TUI NEC refused to march. However the trade unions which did take part in the nurses march give a sign of hope. But there is a long way to go!

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————AT LEAST 40,000 Marched On the Nurses Demonstration . The March Was Led By Irish Nurses and Mid-Wives  Organisation and The Psychiatric Nurses Organisation

Other Trade Unions Who Supported The Nurses March TO-Day And Trade Unions Which Were Absent https://wp.me/pKzXa-ls

The Two Biggest Trade Unions , SIPTU and FÓRSA , WERE ABSENT Fom Nurses March

Trade Unions Who Marched With The Nurses:

MANDATE, ASTI, CWU, OPATSI(Plasterers), UNITE,  Financial Services Union, Northern Ireland Public Services Association(NIPSA Belfast Branch),  Dublin Trades Council, Waterford Trades Council, Dublin Colleges Branch TUI (But not TUI Executive) , TUI Grassroots (Rank and File Organisation), INTO Dublin District (But not INTO Executive)

—————————————————————————————Tell Ministers Finian McGrath and John Halligan To Force Varadkar to meet the Nurses’ Just Claim.  Lobby Them To-day!!  https://wp.me/pKzXa-ls

Minister Finian McGrath  Constituency Office: (01) 851 1530
Dáil Office: (01) 618 3031   finian.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie

Minister John Halligan Constituency Office (051) 871 735

Dáil Office (01) 618 3498  halligan@oireachtas.ie

 

ICTU MUST INSIST: NO PENALTIES AGAINST NURSES OR OTHER PUBLIC SERVANTS FOR STRIKING. ANTI-UNION LAWS MUS BE REPEALED

ICTU, LED BY SIPTU AND FORSA, MUST OBEY INMO RESOLUTION Unanimously PASSED AT ICTU Biennial Delegate Congress 2013  https://wp.me/pKzXa-ls

ICTU CONFERENCE UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED EMERGENCY MOTION ON THE FISCAL EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST LEGISLATION at its meeting in Belfast in June 2013:The following motion, sponsored by the INMO, Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), UNITE and the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) was unanimously adopted by the ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference:

“ Conference, noting:

  • that the Fiscal Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act undermines the principle of collective bargaining in the public sector and concerned that this may set a precedent for the private sector;
  • that the legislation provides extraordinary powers to government Ministers to unilaterally vary terms and conditions of employment;
  • that there is no specified end period for this “emergency” legislation; and
  • that this anti trade union legislation has been introduced in the centenary of the 1913 lockout;

calls on the incoming Executive to mount a vigorous, and robust, campaign against this legislation with the goal of seeing it repealed.”

It should be noted that SIPTU, IMPACT, PSEU and the teachers unions voted for this resolution after they had used the Act to force members to accept the Haddington Rd Agreement under which conditions of employment and pensions were significantly worsened. Nothing whatever has been done to implement the resolution in the year since it was passed-surprise! surprise!

The unions  proposing the motion were only too correct when they included in the motion the fact that they were “concerned that this may set  a precedent for the private sector”. Indeed in its recommendation to members to reject Croke Park 2, the TEEU rightly gave as one of the reasons that the cuts would knock-on to the private sector.  

Support Mandate Strikers at Tesco

Resist Attack By Employers on Workers’Conditions

If Tesco WINS THIS DISPUTE THE CONDITIONS OF  WORKERS EVERYWHERE WILL BE IN DANGER

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Support Bus Éireann Workers

DEFEAT THE EMPLOYER AND GOVERNMENT OFFENSIVE!

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Bus Workers Victory Heaps Pressure on Union Leaders Who Capitulated to Continued Pay Cuts and FEMPI ANTI_TRADE UNION LAW in Public Service

Lower-paid civil servants seek speeding up of pay restoration-Irish Times

The outcome of the Luas and Dublin Bus pay disputes “needs to be reflected within the public service”-CPSU

Martin Wall  Irish Times, October 1, 2016, 01:00

Lower -paid civil servants are seeking the Government to speed up the pace of pay restoration.Their trade union also said the outcome of the Luas and Dublin Bus pay disputes, which resulted in pay increases, “needed to be reflected within the public service”.It also warned that tolerance of additional unpaid hours which public servants were obliged to work was “running out fast”.

The Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU)wants the €1,000 payment due from September next year brought forward to January.

The union, which has members working in clerical roles alongside gardaí in An Garda Síochána, said it would be watching developments carefully in the campaign by gardaí for improved pay and conditions.

Meanwhile Siptu president Jack O’Connor has said additional money that public service staff would be envisaged to receive under a successor to the Lansdowne Road accord after 2018 should be paid earlier.

He also urged the Government to bring forward the date for paying the second tranche of increases under the existing Lansdowne Road deal, which is currently scheduled to be paid in autumn next year.

Yesterday Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said the Government was worried about the possible “domino effect” of the planned Garda strikes.

Mr Donohoe said that any solution to public sector strikes must be through the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

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GARDA DISPUTE: McGrath and Halligan Support Lansdowne Rd and Anti-Trade Union FEMPI Acts

Independent Minister Finian McGrath told The Irish Times the Independent Alliance were “100 per cent on board” for insisting on maintaining the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

As gardaí plan to take unprecedented strike action for four days, the Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal has told Ministers he is unwilling to agree a special pay deal for members of the force.-Irish Times 29/09

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Support the Bus Workers -For A Day of Solidarity Action!

The five trade unions representing workers at Dublin Bus have organised a solidarity march on Tuesday next, September 27, 12 Noon, Dublin City Centre

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 National Bus and Rail Workers Union (NBRU) has challenged Ross’s INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE COllEAGUES  including ministers Halligan and McGrath“to respond the question which is, do they support the minister on his handling of the crisis which is unfolding in Bus Eireann”

Transport Minister Shane Ross is set to come under pressure from his Independent Alliance colleagues this week after junior minister John Halligan backed bus eireann workers against planned pay cuts-Sunday Times  Justine McCarthy   25/09/2016

But where is Finian McGrath Hiding?

Bus Eireann told the Workplace Relations Commission recently that it wished to hive off  the Expressway service to the provincial regions to a low paying subsidiary company

Under its plan to achieve €7m savings, the company wants to reduce the number of full-time positions at Expressway from 550 to between 400 and 450. Compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out.

 

Currently, Expressway employees enjoy the same terms and conditions as workers in the company’s public service obligation routes, and are full-time staff.

Some private operators, in contrast, do not have full-time staff, and pay daily and hourly rates, while some do not pay pensions.

BUT THE VERY PROFITABLE  BUS EIREANN DUBLIN COMMUTER ROUTES ARE TO BE PRIVATISED

Bus Éireann routes to be privatised in 2016 by the National Transport Authority

120 Dublin–Edenderry–Tullamore

123 Dublin–Naas

124 Dublin–Naas–Portlaoise

126 Dublin–Naas

130 Dublin–Naas–Athy

Tenders  also been  sought for six Waterford routes currently operated by Bus Eireann.

It is Clear that All Bus Eireann Routes are To be Made Profitable through Low Pay and then sold off!!

Extracts from Sunday Times Article

Bus Eireann told the Workplace Relations Commision on Wednesday that it wants to cut pay, consider the option of redundancies and to restructure its Expressway service which is losing 500,000Euro per month due to competition from private operators. (Bus Eireann wants to hive off Expressway into a separate company with lower pay and worse conditions than in the parent company-PH)

Halligan Wants Private operators licences withdrawn and has called for bus services nationwide to be nationalised . . . . . .

Halligan , the minister for training, said it would be “grossly unfair” if Bus Eireann introduced pay cuts and redundancies. “The general public deserves a quality public service but the workers who provide it deserve to work in reasonable conditions and be properly paid.” he said.

“I believe the bus service should be run by the state. I’m against privatising any part of the service. We need to have an economic assessment done to see how the state can control it.”

Dermot O’Leary, General Secretary of the National Bus and Rail Workers Union (NBRU) has challenged Ross’s INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE COllEAGUES “to respond the question which is, do they support the minister on his handling of the crisis which is unfolding in Bus Eireann.

O’Leary said: It would be unconscionable to think politicians whose natural habitat is on the left  of the political spectrum would support such a draconian attack, led it would appear, by one of their allies in the Independent Alliance, on the livelihoods of 800-plus workers in a state owned company”- – – –

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Stand Up To Lord Ross, The Independent Alliance, Fine Gael and CIE

The Outcome of the Transport Disputes will Affect all Workers

In addition to resisting the justified claims of the workers at Dublin Bus, the Government and CIE are now proposing reduce wages and conditions in a part of Bus Eireann by hiving off the Expressway service into a seperate company.

If the Government succeeds in this, the pay and conditions of all workers in the commercial state sector will be in immediate danger. Trade unions will be weakened in Irish Society in General.

Ministers Finian McGrath and John Halligan are members of the Independent Alliance of which senior Minister for Transport, Ross is the effective leader. MvGrath and Halligan purport to be left-wingers and friends of workers.It is time for them to stand up and be counted on the workers side in these disputes by stopping Lord Ross in his tracks.

When INMO, Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), UNITE and the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) successfully proposed a motion at ICTU BDC 2013 calling for the repeal of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, they said  its effect would “knock on” to  the commercial state sector and the private sector. TEEU said the same.

NOW IT IS HAPPENING!!!

All industrial and political means necessary to defeat Lord Ross and the company must now be used.

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A general article on the approach union activists should adopt to combat the capitulatory union leaders is carried below.

STOP PRESS

RESTORATION OF PAY CUTS IN PUBLIC SERVICE???????

New Government-ICTU Confidence Trick

The story about restoration of pay and pensions in the public service is a misleading kite been flown jointly by government and the Public Services Committee of ICTU. It is designed to relieve pressure on union leaders and on government. The timescale , they hope, should see them through the general election. We will be invited to vote Labour to ensure restoration of pay and pensions and the “success” of the talks.

Already the timescale of the Haddington Rd agreement was set to see the government through the next election.

But even the promise of jam tomorrow is completely false. Already unions are negotiating pay rises in the profitable part of the private sector covering about 50% of private sector workers according to  LRC chief Kieran Mulvey in a radio interview.. He has also pointed out that SIPTU has negotiated pay  rises  in 250 employments recently and MANDATE has also done so in large retail employments. Mulvey said these rises were normaly of the order of 2 to 5%. This means they are effectively cost of living rises. Faced with the inevitability of conceding similar rises in the public service, ICTU and Government have decided to call them “restoration”. Because they are the same cost of living rises as in the profitable private sector, there will be in fact no restoration in comparison to the profitable part of the private sector. Those in the public service who get the cost of living rises will have them strung out over years. But Minister Howlins statement indicates that many public servants will not receive “restoration”. This means they will not even receive cost of living rises.

This confidence trick would not be possible without the collusion of the public service trade union leaders who are responsible for a historic capitulation through Croke Park 1, Croke Park 2, Haddington Rd and aove all agreeing to FEMPI, the anti-worker  law.

We are seeing a continuation of the historic capitulation of ICTU in new packaging.

 

 

 

What is to be Done in Trade Unions?

ICTU CONFERENCE UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED EMERGENCY MOTION ON THE FISCAL EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST LEGISLATION at its meeting in Belfast in June 2013:The following motion, sponsored by the INMO, Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), UNITE and the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) was unanimously adopted by the ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference:

“ Conference, noting:

  • that the Fiscal Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act undermines the principle of collective bargaining in the public sector and concerned that this may set a precedent for the private sector;
  •  that the legislation provides extraordinary powers to government Ministers to unilaterally vary terms and conditions of employment;
  • that there is no specified end period for this “emergency” legislation; and
  • that this anti trade union legislation has been introduced in the centenary of the 1913 lockout;

calls on the incoming Executive to mount a vigorous, and robust, campaign against this legislation with the goal of seeing it repealed.”

It should be noted that SIPTU, IMPACT, PSEU and the teachers unions voted for this resolution after they had used the Act to force members to accept the Haddington Rd Agreement under which conditions of employment and pensions were significantly worsened. Nothing whatever has been done to implement the resolution in the year since it was passed-surprise! surprise!

The unions  proposing the motion were only too correct when they included in the motion the fact that they were “concerned that this may set  a precedent for the private sector”. Indeed in its recommendation to members to reject Croke Park 2, the TEEU rightly gave as one of the reasons that the cuts would knock-on to the private sector.  

Employers in the private sector, as expected, have now intensified their assault on pay and conditions. Bausch and Lomb, the Greyhound bin company and numerous employers about the country are imposing pay cuts and other worsening of conditions, often, after Labour Court/LRC intervention. For example Bulmers Cider-Showerings and a chemical company , both in Clonmel, have recently imposed pay reductions. The attempt by Iarnród Éireann to cut pay continues.

(The demands of Bausch and Lomb are extremely threatening for workers in multinational companies and for the Irish people generally. The powerlessness of workers and the Irish Government in the face of these threatshighlights the effect of undue reliance on multi-national investment which, itself, is related to the failure to solve the national question in the 1798 to 1923 period with all its implications for economic sovereignty. I will return to this in a further document)

And why wouldn’t employers go on the offensive? Public service unions, including SIPTU, have been telling members for months that they had to vote for cuts under the Haddington Rd Agreement lest worse befall them under the FEMPI Act. Indeed, after the vast majority of public servants had rejected Croke Park 2, ICTU Gen Sec David Begg “intervened” and went on Radio Eireann to say that unions who said that no cuts in the public service pay bill were acceptable were being “unrealistic”!!!!  Private sector employers are now taking him at his word!!! The slogan; “an injury to one is the concern of all” is not solely or even mainly based on altruism.

What is happening at the top of the trade union  movement is a degree of betrayal of Irish workers interests that is unprecedented.    

Trade union activists of my age would have spent a lifetime criticising trade union leaders from my own general secretaries to Mickey Mullen, Fitan Kennedy, Denis Larkin, Tommy Heerey, John Mulhall, Harold O’Sullivan in the early years to more recent leaders such as Billy Atlee and many others for not being sufficiently militant.  But none of these were ever involved in anything remotely like the level of compliance with government that has occurred since the banking crash. Engaging in talks in the context of statutory pay and pension cuts by Lenihan, failing to oppose FEMPI while Howlin was piloting it through the Dail and continuing negotiations in its shadow, allowing government to deduct Home Tax from pay,  agreeing for the first time, under Croke Park 1, that permanent public servants could were liable for compulsory redundancy and therefore had to agree to cuts to avoid it. The level of compliance is also unsurpassed in any of the European bailout countries.

 

 UNION LEADERS SUPPORTING LABOUR HUMILIATED IN EUROPEAN ELECTION!

 

The political earthquake in voting allegiance in recent elections presents huge problems for union leaders. The combined non-Labour Party Left (excluding Sinn Féin) is now bigger than the Labour Party in local government! Big unions affiliated to the Labour Party were unable to deliver votes to Labour. A large banner on the SIPTU building in central Dublin urged votes for Emer Costelloe (Labour Party). There are 11 other trade unions affiliated  to the Labour Party including TSSA, UCATT and Municipal Employees Division of IMPACT. The Irish Region of UNITE had dissaffiliated from the Irish Labour Party before the election. The big retail union MANDATE has not been affiliated to the Labour Party for decades. Because of its pivotal place in the past and present of the Irish working class, in addition to its size, SIPTU (ITGWU)  through its leadership has a special responsibility for the austerity being imposed by the Labour Party in government.

In addition to Sinn Féin heading the European election poll in the Dublin Constituency with over 88,000 votes we see the following in details of the first count:

Socialist Party Murphy, Paul 29953
Labour Party Costello, Emer 25961
People before Profit (SWP) Smith, Bríd 23875

The leaders of SIPTU, the giant general union, were totally ignored by their members.  It is clear that union leaders are totally out of step with the popular mood. Nevertheless, since the election, SIPTU leader Jack O’Connor has  said: “Labour should remain in Government. It is vital there is a voice in Cabinet to challenge austerity” (Cork Echo June 5)     UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!  National mobilisation of members could not even be mentioned as an alternative!

 

Stirrings Among Union Members  

Already, union members are wearying of continued retreats before the offensive of employers in the private and public sectors. Is the unofficial stoppage at Greyhound a harbinger of the great waves of unofficial strikes of the sixties which culminated in the defeat of the employers in the Maintenance strike. Workers in Irish rail, Aer lingus, Bausch and Lomb and the Paris Bakery are either involved or have been recently involved in industrial conflict situations. The blows delivered to the government parties  in the recent elections cannot but give impetus to the determination of workers to resist economic attacks in their employments. Collaboration with austerity  governments has reached an all time intensity in recent pay reduction deals in the public service. The trade union leaderships are the praetorian guard of pro-austerity governments. But the worm may now be turning—–.

The Irish trade union leadership has been unusually compliant since 1969. That was the year in which an elected cross-union strike committee of maintenance craftsmen inflicted a historic defeat on Irish employers as a whole. The craftsmen won with massive support from general workers who respected their pickets.  Only one of 23 craft union leaderships was supporting the strike when the employers collapsed and settled individually with the strikers. The then Leader of the ICTU had called on members of his own general union (Marine Port and General Workers Union) to place pickets on workplaces in protest against the craftsmen’s activities!! Following the strike the entire unionised Irish workforce through relativity systems and under threat of a strike wave secured bigger increases than the craftsmen who then caught up! All modern wages in Ireland are based on the gains of the strike of maintenance craftsmen in 1969. Far from celebrating the victory, the top ICTU leadership immediately changed picketing rules in an attempt to ensure that the solidarity shown could never happen again. ICTU then tolerated changes in industrial relations law by government, which inter alia, gave increased powers to general secretaries over members and elected executives!

Background

Since the anti-conscription strike of 1917, the  ITUC Congress and Labour Party, as it was then known, has not spoken politically on behalf of the majority of Irish workers. It failed to lead the national struggle and the social struggles of the 1918-1923 period to a successful conclusion. This failure ceded the allegiance of Irish workers to Unionist parties in the northern state and pro-capitalist nationalist parties in the souther state. Since then, social democracy in Ireland north and south has always been a stunted organism. Unlike the Irish case, in imperialist countries, such as Germany  and the UK, its parties have been in government alone. There was a huge surge of workers into the trade unions in the 1918 to 1922 period, principally but not only into the ITGWU, now called SIPTU. In this sense, the self identity of the Irish working class as having a separate class interest is historically and practically centred on the trade unions rather than on the Labour Party as in the UK. The Irish trade union leadership was deeply involved in the false boom and subsequently in collaboration with the FF/Green Government and the FG/Lab government in implementing austerity programmes.

 

RECENT HISTORY

ICTU secretary General David Begg was a senior member of the board of the Central Bank  for 14 years up to the year 2010.  He reports to the executive council of ICTU. Before he became governor of the Central Bank, the current governor, Professor Honohan, in Economic and Social Review (Summer 2009) said:“Irish banking system had been, in effect, on a life-support system since September 2008.—-.Complacency resulted in the banks fuelling the late stage of an obvious construction bubble with massive foreign borrowing, leaving them exposed to solvency and liquidity risks which in past times would have been inconceivable–At the end of 2003, net indebtedness of Irish banks to the rest of the world was just 10 per cent of GDP. By early 2008 that had jumped to over 60 per cent”   The borrowing of 50% of Gross Domestic Product over 5 years by the covered banks is precisely what the Central Bank is tasked to prevent-grossly irresponsible borrowing which threatens financial stability. Following the banking collapse, countless thousands have lost their jobs and savage austerity has been visited on the population including pay and pension cuts.   There had been a formal system of social partnership in place from 1987 until the economic collapse in 2009. Subsequently collaboration with government by the trade union leadership intensified.   After the FF/Green government legislated for pay and pension cuts in the public service (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, 2010) and implemented a moratorium on the filling of posts in the public service, union leaders negotiated further major reductions in the public service pay  bill over 3 years(Public Service Agreement 2011-2014) with the same government! Though the new FG/Lab  government reneged on the deal in 2013, and introduced draconian anti-union Legislation (FEMPI 2013), the union leaders negotiated a new 3 year deal implementing further cuts in the public pay bill  with the FG/Labour government . The trade union leaders are completely complicit in implementing austerity policies. Currently, the collaboration takes place through Labour Party ministers in government. But I do not believe that the complicity with the present government is due to the presence of the Labour Party in the government.  All the evidence is that the union leaders would be equally complicit with any government which maintained the cast of senior trade union officials as an integral part of the elite of Irish society. SEE   http://wp.me/pKzXa-gw

 

What Is to Be Done?

When I say that it is essential that the left and the trade unions show a new way forward to the Irish people in the current ongoing economic and political crisis, I do not mean that the current trade union leaders can be expected to do this. Activists must, of course, continue and intensify efforts to bring the leaders under democratic control of members and to replace those not amenable to such control.  However, if one depended solely on proceedings at annual congresses and branch/section meetings, workers would be long defeated before such processes were concluded. Irish workers have a particularly strong tradition of “unofficial” industrial action in addition to official action. But workers have been particularly quiet since the beginning of the economic crisis. There had been very significant improvements in workers living standards in the decade before the onset of recession.   The recession came as quite a shock to all. Trade union leaders and politicians reinforced the same message. If short term or temporary pain were accepted, previous relative prosperity would be recovered. Many believed this or thought it might be true.  But very few now hold this view and the number decreases as time goes by. After the overall exchequer deficit has been reduced below 3% of GDP in the budget 2015, the state is committed to removing the “structural deficit” by 2018 and paying down state debt from 120% of GDP to 60% over 20 years under the Fiscal Treaty. Resistance by workers in their employment is already increasing. Commercial companies which are partially or wholly owned by the state are now seeking to worsen conditions of employment. Workers in Aer Lingus and Irish rail are resisting. The largely immigrant workforce in a small Dublin centre bakery is sitting in to demand wages owed and redundancy payments. All this could become contagious! The current unofficial “downer” at Greyhound by lowly paid workers may be a straw in the wind! This possibility is enhanced by the outcome of recent elections.  The blows delivered to the government parties in the recent European and Local elections shows to workers that the government can be shaken and that there is widespread opposition to government policies. The wipe-out of the Labour Party  and the surge to Sinn Féin has rocked the political system and the irish elites including the trade union leaders.

  • In line with the new  mood, union activists must now redouble their efforts to secure support of fellow workers to resist attacks on pay ,pensions and conditions in the public and private sectors
  • Union leaders must be called to account for their support for Austerity Measures and for the Labour Party in Government
  • An alternative economic path for the country based on the interests of workers and the poor should be advocated (see x below)
  • Dissaffiliation from the Labour Party should be advocated (see y below)
  • Workers should be urged to seek and sign the official form form forbidding the union to give any part of union dues to the party.
  • Full time officials who represent unions on Public Service Committee of ICTU  and on the Executive Council of ICTU should be replaced by executive members subject to re-election. (This does not require a change of union rules in most cases)
  • All officials must be subject to election and re-election

X    several left wing organisations have put forward such programmes.  At a minimum a steeply progressive taxation of the incomes and assets of the very rich should be advocated (the top 10,000 income earners have an average income of 595,000 Euro each and financial assets (bank deposits and shares) of households only (not companies) have increased by 70 billion since the onset of recession and are now above peak boom levels (Central Statistics Office, Institutional Sector Accounts 2013). Water charges, to be introduced in October should be resisted by trade unions)

y  How can a union remain affiliated to the Labour Party after ICTU, itself, has passed the following resolution concerning the emergency legislation introduced by Labour Party Minister, Brendan Howlin: ICTU CONFERENCE UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS EMERGENCY MOTION ON THE FISCAL EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST LEGISLATION The following motion, sponsored by the INMO, Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), UNITE and the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) was unanimously adopted by the ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference at its meeting in Belfast today (June 2013): Conference, noting:

  • that the Fiscal Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act undermines the principle of collective bargaining in the public sector and concerned that this may set a precedent for the private sector;
  •  that the legislation provides extraordinary powers to government Ministers to unilaterally vary terms and conditions of employment;
  • that there is no specified end period for this “emergency” legislation; and
  • that this anti trade union legislation has been introduced in the centenary of the 1913 lockout;

calls on the incoming Executive to mount a vigorous, and robust, campaign against this legislation with the goal of seeing it repealed.

(Nothing has been done to implement the resolution in the last 12 months. there is no union affiliated to the Labour Party among the proposers!! P H)

Labour Leadership Race: Savour the Total cynicism of Labour and Trade Union Leaders Miriam Lord : http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/the-question-that-should-have-been-asked-at-the-labour-husting-was-why-are-we-all-here-1.1833442 …

Read More http://wp.me/pKzXa-kQ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

UPDATE:Labour Destroyed Itself through Coalition

UPDATE OCT 11

Labour Backed by SIPTU Humiliated in Two Bye-elections

The pathetic vote for Labour backed by SIPTU and it’s President Jack O’Connor and the massive turnout on the Abolish the Water Charges Demonstration to-day shows that the majority of Workers are rejecting the SIPTU Position

The demonstration was backed by 5 unions -MANDATE, UNITE, CPSU,OPATSI, CWU but SIPTU continues to support Burton and the Labour Party Leadership which is enforcing the water charges

UPDATE:October 6

Labour to be Humiliated in Bye-Elections 

Water charges, supported by Labour, have become the main issue in both bye-elections to be held next Friday. Labour currently has two seats in the Dublin Southwest constituency-Pat Rabitte and Eamonn Maloney.

The results will show that Labour will get no seat in the constituency in a general election.

This bears out my contention in the analysis below that coalition with FG and or FF has destroyed the Labour Party and will also destroy Sinn Féin if it enters into such a coalition

UPDATE JULY 4

New Labour Leadership But No change

SIPTU LEADERSHIP NOW DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR LABOUR ACTIONS IN GOVERNMENT

The entire Labour party leadership affair is a low farce with little substance. The vote for the Labour candidate in the recent bye-election in Joan Burton’s constituency of Dublin West was 5.2% for Lorraine Mulligan. Joan Canvassed for the candidate. She delivered a derisory vote.
In the new All Tipperary Co Council, the Labour Party has one seat only. The candidate was elected to the ninth seat in the Nenagh ward without reaching the quota. This is the “turf” of Alan Kelly TD who has been elected as Deputy leader of the Labour Party.
If a general election were held to-morrow, there can be little doubt that the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Lasbour Party would lose their seats.
The Labour Party is terminally ill but is being kept alive by Jack O’Connor and the SIPTU leadership. Jack has referred to the “vile lie” that Labour broke its promises. He has also claimed that the Labour Party has “saved” the workers from 2 billion in additional cuts which otherwise would have been implemented by Fine GaeL.
If SIPTU withdrew support from the Labour Party leadership, the party would collapse. A convention of the Labour movement, political and industrial, could then be held to discuss a way forward.
It is clear that the leaderships of several trade unions are distinctly unhappy with the role of the Labour Party in government. UNITE has already dissaffiliated. The emergency resolution passed by ICTU Biennial Congress in June 2013 calling for a vigorous campaign against Labour Howlins anti-worker FEMPI wage cutting act were INMO, IBOA and MANDATE in addition to UNITE. O’Connor and Coady(IMPACT) poured cold water on the resolution but voted for it. But they have ensured that the resolution has not been implemented in any respect in the last twelve months.
The SIPTU leadership must be held to be directly responsible for everything Burton and Kelly do in government.
It should be recalled that the affiliated unions supported the return to coalitionism in 1970. Instead of celebrating the historic victory of the unofficialmaintenance workers strike over the employers, they were terrified by it.
Everybody should attend the Greyhound Workers Support meeting in Libert Hall on Monday. But as we do, we should ask ourselves how SIPTU allowed a situation to arise where an employer could dare to bring in “agency workers” to break an official strike a year after we celibrated the hundredth anniversary of 1913!!

 

Irish People Will Pay a heavy Price if Left and Trade Unions fail to show a way forward

Prior to the 1969 General election the Labour Party leadership adopted a policy of refusing to enter coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in the future. While the Labour Party vote improved in the 1969 General Election, Labour did not make the sweeping gains that some had expected. The leadership immediately used the outcome to reverse its “no coalition” policy. The reality was that the Labour and Trade Union leaders were frightened by the unofficial strike wave which culminated in the great national victory over the employers by the maintenance craftworkers in 1969. The mobilisation around civil rights in the north added to the dangers of destabilisation of the capitalist Treaty settlement of 1922. As always, Irish social democracy returned to its first principle: protect t capitalist stability. This required a return to coalition.

I resisted this reversal and I was elected to the National Executive (then called the Administrative Council at the1970 Party Conference on that basis . I was expelled at the first meeting.

Again in 2011, following the unprecedented economic crash and the linked damage to the main ruling party Fianna Fáil, capitalist stability was in danger. It was clear to all that any party representing workers would be fatally damaged by participation in a capitalist coalitrion government in the circumstances. Yet Labour entered with its eyes open to protect Irish capitalism once again.

This coalitionist policy has led to disaster after disaster for the Labour Party. Now it is on the brink of oblivion.

Written on the tombstone of Labour will be the legend: “It died protecting Irish capitalism. It turned on its own””

Because none of the leadership candidates are questioning the coalition policy, the outcome of the leadership election is immaterial.

The material below was contained in an edition of  Comment,the UCD Labour Party Magazine published in 1967. It was edited by Ruairí Quinn who has just retired as Minister for Education. It gives a glimpse of the brief “no coalition” era in the Labour Party in the late sixties.

Ruairí Quinn writes an editorial against coalition with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Paddy Healy(myself!) elaborates on the history and meaning of Connolly’s concept of the Workers Republic. This is carried below.

Full Magazine here http://irishelectionliterature.wordpress.com/2014/07/02

WORKERS’REPUBLIC

Pat Healy is a graduate of UCD and is currently a lecturer in Bolton ST1

At the coming Labour Party conference motions will be discussed calling for the reinsertion of the demand for a Workers Republic among the aims and objects of tine party. This development, which is a reflection of the growing leftward trend in Irish politics, will be welcomed by all workers who see the need for a radical reorganisation of the economy in the interest of the working class,       This need will become all the more apparent in the coming months when Fianna Fáil, the executive committee of the exploiting class, will attempt to shackle the workers by enacting anti-trade union legislation.

 

The history of the demand for a Workers Republic in the Labour movement is most instructive, It was the goal of James Connolly co-founder with Larkin of the Labour Party. It was clear to him that independence alone would not alleviate the plight of the toiling man. Consequently, he instructed the Citizen Army to hold onto their arms in the coming fight lest those who were with them stop short of his objective. In the thirties, the demand for a Workers Republic split the Republican Congress2 ,its opponents holding that the national revolution must first be completed-shades of Devalera’s infamous dictum “Labour must wait”.

It was formally incorporatod as an objective of the Labour

Party in 1936. However, anti-progressive forces wore soon to show their hand. The executive of the Irish National Teachers Organisation, who were then affiliated to the Labour Party, sent a letter to the Hierarchy asking their opinion as to whether the aims and objects of the Labour Party ware in any way in conflict with Catholic teaching.    This was referred by the Hierarchy to a committee of experts, who replied that certain things were and gave as an example the fact that the Worker’s Republic was the ultimate objective of the party.

A series of amendments were placed on the agenda of the 1938 conference by the INTO, with the object of deleting the objectionable clauses from the constitution. It became apparent however, after a number of discussions between the executive of the I.N.T.O.and some members of the AC of the Party that the amendments would not be passed. They were accordingly withdrawn after an assurance by NORTON that he would use “other means” to have them adopted. The amendments again appeared on the agenda of the 1939  conference but were referred back. However, the A.C, sought and obtained permission from the conference to redraft the constitution. This wassupported by Tom 0’Connell, a former Chairman of the Party, who remarked “people might think we’re socialists”.    A new draft-constitution was circula­ted in April 1940 and in this draft all reference to the Workers’ Republic had been omitted. This was flltina passed in the 1940’s and following this the INTO received the express commendation of the Bishops. Before this statement from the bishops no public mention had been made of the negotiations that had been going on between the executive of the INTO, certain members of the A.C. of the Labour Party and the Hierarchy. Even to-day it is not thought advisable to make public reference to the circumstances which led up to the alterations in the constitution. It is significant that no direct vote was ever taken on the deletion of the Worker’s Republic clause.

 

The Labour Party has recently declared itself to be a socialist party, but declarations alone are meaningless unless the Party adopts a socialist programme for workers power centred around the demand for a workers Republic.

 

There must be no ambiguity about the goal for which we are striving. WE can learn much from the experience of the British Labour Party. This so-called socialist party was elected without a socialist programme and with no perspective outside the capitalist system.   Now, having no other perspective, they govern in the in the interest of the exploiters and when these exploiters encounter difficulties which spring from the inherent contradictions in capitalism they unload the problems onto the backs of the workers by deliberately creating unemployment. This human suffering, this gross waste of resources which should be used to better the lot of those who work could never take place in a planned economy. Anyone who has any illusions that the British Labour Party is governing in the interest of the workers should consult the growing dole queues.

 

This is not what we mean by a Worker’s Republic. The Worker’s Republic the rule of the majority, organizised through workers’ councils, without standing army or permanent bureaucracy, needing repression initially only against the formerly exploiting minority. The electorate will retain the right of immediate recall of  its representatives at all levels. Therefore the character of this semi-state of the working class is radically different.Whereas present “democracy” is based on a state of exploitation of the vast majority, and is only an empty, legalistic formula masking an employers’ dictatorship, the Workers’ Republic means real democracy, the reality of the controlling will of the workers: it is democracy by and for tile working people against the exploiters.

 

In the Workers’Republic the means of life will be social property. The factories, banks, insurance companies and means of transport and communication will be common property of the working people,controlled democratically. All imperialist economic holdings will be expropriated. Large scale industry will be nationalised,(nationalisation being understood as the transfer of  ownership to the workers state under the direct socialist management of the working class).    The existing state-capitalist enterprises will also be transferred into social property by the Workers’ State.    Large estates and capitalist agricultural undertakings  will be nationalised. There will be state monopoly of the wholesale trade, :Nationalisaxion for use by the people of large houses in town and country.   Small property in town and country will not be expropriated and non-exploiters will not be coerced.   Only when the small farmers can see the advantages of amalgamation and large scale agriculture will there be any question of reorganisation here. Until that time, planning by the Workers State will,  will at least, free the small farmer from the disastrous effects the present anarchic capitalist system.

 

At a local level workers management will be the rule; on a national level, economic functions will be centralised in the hands of the democratically controlled workers state. The central and local

will interact and mutually adjust to the other. For the  first time a rational economy planned in the interests of the self-controlling working man will be possible

 

In relation to the Labour Party Conference a word of warning is necessary. Past experience has shown that the cleverest careerists often adopt left sounding phrases as a means to their own ends. When Hugh Gaitskell sought to delete Clause 1V from the British Labour Party constitution his vigorous opponent was Harold Wilson (Claus IV states that the aim of the Party is the control of the means of production by those who labour by hand or by brain). Now Wilson and his fellow traitors not alone ignore Clause IV but even their own election promises.

It will not be surprising, therefore, if the conference accepts the Workers’ Republic motion by a large majority with strong vocal support from all manner of oppartunists

and place-seekers.But let us not be deceived.Let us elect officers who will struggle for Connollys glorious goal and after conference let us wage a constant determined struggle within the Party lest any bureaucrat, blackleg or traitor should renege on the battle for socialism and place his owm selfish interest before those of the working class.

 

Onward to the Workers Republic!!

1 if the author had been consulted by Editor Ruairí Quinn he would have been told that my name is Paddy Healy and that I had joined the lecturing staff at Kevin St (PH 2014)

 

 

 

Huge Political Crisis Developing in Ireland

The reality is that political room for social democracy has been removed in EU “programme countries” .Classical social democracy is almost extinct in Greece and is now dying in Ireland
I rarely agree with John Bruton but he is correct in predicting (at least) 10 years more of austerity. The EU has quantified what is necessary to remove “the structural deficit” under the fiscal treaty- a change from -4.8% of GDP in 2014 to +4.9% in 2018. Then the requirement to PAY DOWN (not roll-over) the state debt from 120% of GDP to 60% of GDP over 20 years kicks in. No wonder, John Bruton is concerned about the government parties “raising expectations”.
THE REAL PROOF THAT THE LABOUR PARTY IS IN DIRE LONG TERM DIFFICULTY IS THAT NO LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE(even in the election for Deputy Leadership ) IS PROPOSING TO LEAVE THE COALITION GOVERNMENT EVEN ON AN OPPORTUNISTIC BASIS!

(Labour Leadership Contest: Neither of the two candidates propose to leave the austerity coalition of which Labour is a part. Under the Fiscal Treaty, which Labour supported, austerity is to continue for 20 years as government debt must be reduced (not rolled over) from 120% to 60% of GDP! Any Labour Party member, who wishes to oppose the trajectory supported by both candidates and call for a break with coalitionism, should write on the ballot paper: “none of these”
I was expelled from the National Executive of the Labour Party in 1970 for opposing the return to coalitionism after the 1969 general election. My stand has been only too trajically vindicated! )

Unless there is decisive intervention from the left, the following is likely to happen: Some combination of Sinn Fein and the traditional parties will come into government in the next general election. The government will “discover” that the economy is not “recovering” after all and that the outgoing government has concealed the extent of the problems. Blaming the outgoing government (It was ever thus), they will then launch a new round of austerity in line with the Fiscal Treaty.
Meanwhile extreme right wing forces will gather as the left and the trade union movement fail to show a way forward for the people
There will be a heavy price to be paid if the left cannot create a credible and principled alternative–
A pretend alternative, involving forces which are not opposed to coalition with FG and/or FF in principle, would create a worse scenario with a fraction of the “left alternative” joining the government (“a national government”), thereby further disorienting any left alternative which may have existed before the election ——

These matters must be addressed urgently on the left and in the trade unions. It is well to remember that in Irish circumstances, it is through the trade unions that the working class became “a class for itself”, as the political wing of the labour movement failed to play a progressive and leading role on the national question after 1916.

In the discussion a colleague  has replied: sounds like “same old, same old” despite the “seismic shift”

I replied:

The “seismic shift” is away from political allegiance to the traditional parties. That alone could not be expected to provide a way forward. But the circumstance in which the southern state can no longer depend solely on the traditional FF, FG, Lab parties is not a “same old, same old” situation.
The last big political crisis was “solved” for capitalism by MacBride entering government AND by the expansionist Keynesian policies of westen governments(including Marshall Aid) which created a relatively favourable international environment.
There are many differences to-day. Sinn Fein already has more seats than Clann Na Poblahta achieved and is about to gain far more. Sinn Fein is organised on a 32 county basis. It will be far more difficult for Sinn Fein to deliver its southern supporters to support austerity than it was to enter an administration with Unionism. Northern nationalists feel threatened by sectarian discrimination and many see SF participation in the Stormont administration as a protection.
How many southern workers would forgive SF for supporting austerity?
I would opine that the real movers and shakers of the southern state (eg. John Bruton) are very worried. Clearly they believe that the EU is determined to continue implementing austerity under the Fiscal Treaty. Has the EU any choice? What would “expectations” be like if Sinn féin entered government having promised to end austerity?
There are similarities with the past but there are also important and crucial differences.
There are serious opportunities for the left and the trade unions if they are grasped.

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