A Rally of education workers to call for a rejection of the Croke Park 'extension' deal will be held in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin, on Saturday next 9th March at 12 noon. The rally is bring organised as a result of an initiative from 5 branches of the Teachers Union of Ireland which called an organising meeting last week. This meeting was attended by over 60 union members, mainly branch and district officers, from the 4 teaching unions (TUI, ASTI, INTO and IFUT) as well as representatives from SIPTU's Education branch and from some other public service union.
That meeting was held within hours of the TUI Executive Committee's decision to recommend a No vote to its members - a decision which gave a great boost to those campaigning to ensure that this deal is rejected by all public servants when it is put to ballot over the next 4 - 6 weeks. A decision was made at the meeting to organise a rally which would give a focus to all those campaigning for a No vote and help to begin to buld a momentum behind the No side in the forthcoming debate.
Those organising the rally say that it will focus on
· "securing a “NO” vote to Croke Park 2 in as many unions as possible
· the need for unity amongst all public servants in the face of the on-going attacks on us, and
· the way forward to better representation and mobilisation of public servants
· sending a message to our unions, to ICTU and to the Government that this so-called agreement will not be accepted"
Organisers are keen to point out that “This rally is not called by the Executive of any union and has absolutely nothing to do with ICTU, which clearly no longer represents public servants at all.”
There is growing opposition among education workers and other public servants to the 'deal'. The CEC (Central Executive Committee) of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), after two lengthy meetings last week, has decided to put the deal to its members without a recommendation. This is hugely significant as the INTO leadership and full-time officials has always been one of the keenest advocates of social partnership and similar deals. Meanwhile ASTI (Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland) have yet to issue a recommendation and IFUT (Irish Federation of University Teachers) is calling for a No vote.
Information meetings are currently being held around the country and union members are using the opportunity to express their annoynace and anger at the thrust of government policy which targets ordinary workers yet again while allowing the wealthy to get off scot free. But even greater anger is being directed at the union leaderships whose decision to enter talks whose only agenda was the facilitation of €1 billion in cuts to the public service paybill is seen as an outright betrayal of everything the trade union movement has ever stood for.
Over 200 INTO members packed into a meeting in the Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley on Monday afternoon, 4th March, for example. The meeting heard condemnations of the deal and the union leadership from practically every speaker and many expressed a sesnse of frustration at the union leadership's decision to enter talks in the first place.
The challenge for all those opposed to the deal is to channel the anger of members into a huge No vote and from there into a campaign of resistance to any attempts by the government to implement paycuts through legislation. We need to convince everyone who is angry about this deal that s/he must become an organiser of the No vote campaign in her/his own workplace, among colleagues and friends. Saturday’s rally can be a first step in building such a campaign.
Education Workers Rally to call for a rejection of Croke Park ‘extension’ deal
Saturday 9th March - 12:00 - Gresham Hotel, O’Connell St., Dublin