Croke Park 2 voted down - Conflict with government now looming


Government efforts to bully public sector workers into accepting further wage cuts and harsher working conditions have been decisively rejected today.  SIPTU, INMO and the INTO all announced that they had rejected the deal in votes today. The rejection by SIPTU members was the final nail in the coffin of the deal, the members voting against it despite the efforts of the leadership to force it through, the margin was narrow only a few percent but the INMO recorded a 95.5% rejection and in the INTO almost 70% voted against the agreement.

This is now amounting to the greatest threat to the government's programme of austerity. The is the first big move by organised workers to challenge the government directly. Unlike previous occasions where cajoling, bullying and outright connivance by some trade union leaders led to the vote agreeing to the previous Croke park agreement, this time key sections of workers early on expressed outright opposition and the leadership of several unions responding to the rising militancy urged no votes.

Whether to return to negotiations, or attempt to force a wage cut on workers, is the question facing the government. If SIPTU had voted yes along with IMPACT the government would have proclaimed they had a majority and attempted to force the agreement through, using tactics of divide and conquer with the covert approval of the Labour party personnel at the top of SIPTU. However the vote of SIPTU members in rejecting the agreement has confounded that plan, so we can expect after a lot of bluster a reopening of negotiations being urged by Jack O'Connor and even Brendan "7%" Howlin.

An oppurtunity now presents itself to the progressive and forward looking sections of public sector workers. A strong grassroots campaign against reopening negotiations and efforts to get their unions to link up with other anti austerity campaigners like the Campaign Against the Household Tax and Water Charges and others could generalise the resistance to the governments austerity programme and avoid isolating the public sector when the rightwing media launches another offensive against them.

Today is a good day for all workers , the public sector have taken a lead, a lead the rest of the working class should follow.

WORDS: James McBarron

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