1 October 2009 Edition

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Trade unions launch fightback against cuts

THE Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has announced a rolling campaign of resistance to cuts in workers’ wages, conditions and jobs as some of the country’s largest unions ballot their members on industrial action as part of a campaign to defend jobs and services.
ICTU leaders met in Dublin on Wednesday as An Phoblacht went to press (details of the ICTU campaign of protests and political lobbying can be seen on www.ictu.ie).
ICTU said it will conduct “a campaign of sustained opposition to Government inaction on jobs, the threat of cuts to public services and to ensure that the burden of economic adjustment is not borne disproportionately by working people and their families”.
Stressing that fairness and equality must be at the heart of any solution to the crisis that confronts communities, Congress General Secretary David Begg said:
“Not alone has there been no action to keep people in work but those defending their jobs have been subjected to extraordinary mistreatment and abuse. There are currently five serious private sector disputes in progress in which the behaviour of the employers is more in tune with practices from the early 1900s than with a modern society.
“Our talks with Government have not produced anything. Congress therefore sees no alternative but to mobilise its membership – some 650,000 people and their families, in this jurisdiction – in a campaign of sustained opposition and in order to convince Government that fairness and social justice must be central to any proposed solution to the crisis.”

SIPTU & IMPACT
As ICTU takes on the Government, SIPTU, the largest trade union, and one of the biggest public service unions, IMPACT, are balloting members on industrial action to save jobs and services and oppose attacks on hard-won terms and conditions affecting wages and quality of life.
SIPTU is insisting that the Government honours its pay deal agreed by the social partners a year ago and has lodged a 3.5% pay claim on the Health Service Executive on behalf of 34,000 health workers.
An internal bulletin sent to SIPTU shop stewards and officials by the union’s ruling National Executive Council said such a campaign should be focused on maximising the effect on the authorities while minimising inconvenience to the public and suffering for union members.
SIPTU accused the Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government of trying to get securing all of the €4 billion in savings it is seeking next year through public spending and pay cuts.
“The Government has decided that working people and those who depend most on public services will exclusively shoulder the burden of the mismanagement of the economy,” SIPTU said.
“Meanwhile, those at the top of society, including people who made fortunes selling property to developers during the boom, are to be insulated from the obligation to make a contribution commensurate with their capacity to do so.”
And Tánaiste Mary Coughlan – still embroiled in the €1 million golden handshake for former FÁS Director General Rody Molloy, who presided over a gravy train of lavish expenses and trips for FÁS executives, while her party considers axing FÁS jobs schemes for long-term unemployed workers providing crucial community services, said unions should sit around the negotiating table, rather than engage in strike action

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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