Partnership

The Twisted Road to Partnership: Can the trade union movement be saved from the bureaucracy?

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As the trade union leadership does its best to drag us back into a new round of ‘social partnership’, Gregor Kerr – an activist in the Irish National Teachers Organisation – compares the best and worst of recent developments in the trade unions and poses a challenge – Can we save the movement by ridding it of the stultifying bureaucracy that seems set to strangle the life out of it?

The past number of months have witnessed the best and the worst of the trade union movement and its leadership.  On the one hand, the presence of 5 trade unions – Unite, Mandate, CPSU, CWU and OPATSI – in the leadership of the Right2Water Campaign has certainly contributed to its being able to mobilise some of the biggest street mobilisations in the history of the state.  But on the other hand the paucity of ambition and their perspective on how change in society is brought about, sees those unions and their leaderships doing their best to drag what has been largely a community-led campaign down the well-trodden and unlikely-to-succeed electoral path.

 

 

Why are the ICTU leaders refusing to fight the cuts - It's Time to Strike Back

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Working people hit the streets in huge numbers on November 6th. The protests showed, once again, that there is a willingness to resist the government’s attacks on living standards. Most observers put the total number who walked out of work to take part in the eight protests at around 100,000.

The Dunnes Strike & Managing Change - the two souls of the trade union

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For three weeks, in June-July 1995, nearly 6,000 mostly young and part-time workers struck against Ireland's largest private sector employer, the firmly anti-union Dunnes Stores, over Sunday trading, zero-hours contracts, the proportion of full-time jobs and other issues. But the principal, and unstated, issues were probably union recognition and the organisation of the newly emergent semi-casual, part-time, young (and mainly female) section of the labour force. The result, while disappointing on the concrete 'economic' issues, was generally greeted as something of a breakthrough on the latter 'political' issues.

Union activists are facing new management attacks but the trade union leadership speaks only of partnership with the bosses. Des Derwin, member of the Executive of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and of the Dublin Private Sector Regional Executive Committee of SIPTU gives his personal view on the two souls of the unions. 

Incorporation of struggle - A Spoonful of Sugar

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Why is it that many single issue campaigns and community groups which start out with a radical program soon end up as little more than service groups? Conor Mc Loughlin, an activist of the now defunct Portobello Unemployed Action Group investigates.

Lessons of Trade Union Fightback

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Following the vote on the Programme for Competitiveness and Work at the end of March 2004, the Trade Union Fightback (TUF) campaign was wound up. Here Gregor Kerr, an INTO member who was secretary of TUF, looks at the history and lessons of the campaign.Following the vote on the Programme for Competitiveness and Work at the end of March 2004, the Trade Union Fightback (TUF) campaign was wound up. Here Gregor Kerr, an INTO member who was secretary of TUF, looks at the history and lessons of the campaign

Pay Restoration Con of the Politicans, Media and Union Leaders - Decade Later Far from Restoration to 2007 Levels

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Details of the latest national plan agreed between the government and union leaders have appeared in the media today, as usual well ahead of the union leaders bothering to tell their membership anything. Then union leaders intention is to present workers with a ‘take it or leave it’ choice accompanied by dire warnings that there is no choice.

The deal as expected is pretty rotten and in effect ensures that the pay cuts imposed on public sector workers from 2009 will at least partially be in place for some workers a full decade and a year later in 2020. What’s even worse is that the worse pay and conditions imposed on workers employed after 2012 are being set in stone rather than overturned. This despite it seeming an essential basic demand of a union that workers doing the same work should receive the same pay.

Croke Park talks are a farce - unions have no mandate to enter negotiations

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According to RTE (Monday 14th Jan), “The opening negotiations on a new public service agreement have ended after a meeting between management and unions.”  It’s tempting to ask whether anyone on either side of the talks has even a basic idea of what the word “negotiations” means.  Even in a hostage situation, if the police open “negotiations” with the hostage takers, it’s usually with a tacit understanding that there will have to be some concessions made in order to secure the release of the hostages.  In this case however, it’s akin to the police negotiator discussing with the hostage taker whether the hostages are to be killed by gunshot, stabbing or poisoning.  The notion that the role of the negotiator is to secure the release of the hostages has been ditched.

‘Partnership’ as we enter recesssion – A farce and a con

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What a farce! As the economy officially goes into recession, as electricity bills go up by 17.5%, as food bills are officially 6.4% higher than this time last year, the leaders of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions negotiate through the night and emerge bleary-eyed from the ‘social partnership’ talks with 1) a pay pause and 2) pay increases, when we eventually get them, lower than the rate of inflation. And then they have the cheek to tell us that this is “the best deal available in the current economic climate” (1). Lucky for them they’re not on performance-related pay if that’s the best they can do for their members.

INTO members urged to vote No to rotten pay deal

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The text of a leaflet distributed among INTO members. While it's written specifically for INTO members, the arguments in it are obviously applicable across all unions.

Partnership delivers more work for less pay in UCD

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Irish Universities are increasingly seeing their primary role as being that of a moneymaking corporation rather than centres of education and knowledge. This isn't too good for the vast majority of students but it also is bad news for most of the workers in the colleges as well.

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