Gregor Kerr

Industrial Action: Strong Yes Vote needed from teacher unions

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Members of the 3 teacher unions – INTO, TUI and ASTI – have begun a ballot for industrial action which, if agreed, “will be triggered in the event of government proceeding unilaterally to impose salary cuts or to worsen working conditions.”     INTO members will vote at meetings to be held across the country this coming week while ASTI and TUI members are voting by postal ballot with a closing date of 20th May.

Teachers unions showing the way - ‘No’ vote only the start – build now for industrial action

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The decision of the 3 teacher unions to conduct a ballot for industrial action ups the ante in the battle against government attempts to impose a new round of paycuts on public sector workers.  The unions have announced a decision to “conduct a ballot of members for industrial action, up to and including strike action”, and that industrial action “will be triggered in the event of government proceeding unilaterally to impose salary cuts or to worsen working conditions.”

The state of the unions - the legacy of 1913 and the trade union movement today

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Having spent the early part of this week at the annual conference of my union – the Irish National Teachers Organisation – I’m struck by the view that unions today appear to be a different world entirely from that of 100 years ago.  My talk will focus less on 1913 and more on where the trade union movement finds itself today

Defeating Croke Park 2 – Every Vote Counts

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An analysis of the voting results on the first Croke Park Agreement shows that the votes of a few hundred union members in a couple of unions could decide the fate of the ‘Croke Park Extension’ deal currently being voted on by union members. Because of the bizarre - and rather anti-democratic - system of voting at the public services committee of the ICTU, a small margin in favour or against the deal in any particular union swings all the votes of that union either for or against. 

Was Croke Park “the best deal available?” And more importantly why?

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INTO (Irish National Teachers Organisation) general secretary Sheila Nunan and other union leaders have said that the Croke Park extension deal is “the best deal available through negotiation” and that the negotiators “left nothing at the table”.  And they are probably right.  But saying that this is the best deal available through negotiation is not quite the same as saying that it is the best deal achievable.

Education workers to hold rally for No vote to Croke Park 2 in Dublin

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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.

ICTU: Taking the politics out of protest

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Depending on whose figures you believe, somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 people took to the streets yesterday (Sat 9th February) to register their opposition to the foisting of private bank debt onto the shoulders of ordinary workers, the refusal to tax the wealthy and the accompanying austerity agenda which has led to wage cuts, job losses, cuts in services and a plethora of increased taxation measures all of which have disproportionately affected those on low and middle incomes.

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.

What do Jack O’Connor, ‘garda sources’ and Sunday Independent journalists have in common? - Sowing The Fear and Spinning The Lies

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On Saturday last (24th November), approximately 15,000 people marched through Dublin to demand an end to austerity.  It was a lively and vociferous march that seemed to herald a renewed sense of militancy among those attending. This militancy was most evident when Eugene McGlone, president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, was roundly booed when he rose to speak.  Despite attempts to claim that this booing was orchestrated by Sinn Fein and the ULA, it was clear that a great many of those booing were doing so spontaneously and were expressing their frustration at the lack of action by the trade union leadership in terms of organising a real fightback over the past few years.

Build the boycott of the Property Tax - Join the protest on 24th November

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On Saturday 24th November, thousands of people will march from Parnell Square to the GPO in Dublin behind the slogan “Boycott The Property Tax.  Fight Austerity”.  This protest, jointly organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, Communities Against Cuts and the Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, will give people the opportunity to show their opposition to the introduction of the property tax and the further entrenchment of the austerity agenda which will come in the budget on 5th December.

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