Irish trade unionism and the end of Civil War politics?

By Sean Byers, delivered at the TULF meeting a political strategy for the trade union movement. In December 2015, as the Right2Water campaign continued to confound its opponents with mass demonstrations attracting upwards of 100,000 people, former Taoiseach John Bruton made this revealing statement to the Irish media: FG and FF have complemented each other through Irish history. In Ireland we have had consensus about major long-term policies largely because we haven’t had a sharp left/right or ideological divide. We have had differences, but they are differences about other things, not economics, and that has served the country very well… […]

United Action is Key to Way Forward

By Eoin Ó Murchú When the Labour Party was established in 1912, it was in order to give political effect to the trade union movement, and it was in that context that James Connolly, Jim Larkin and William O’Brien presented their proposal in Clonmel that year. It is obvious that that is no longer the party’s view of itself. At the recent Magill summer school, party leader Brendan Howlin argued that “the Labour Party must dare to imagine a better form of capitalism – one that serves the many, and not just the few.” And the key former adviser to […]

A Trade Union Strategy to Win for Working People

Speech at the Mother Jones Festival, Cork by SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, on Thursday, 28th July, 2016 Comrades and friends, This year’s Mother Jones Festival takes place against the background of the continuing trauma of the most serious crisis in global capitalism since the 1930s. It is important to say from the outset that this is a demand side crisis largely attributable to exponentially growing inequality in what we know as the “developed world”. The phenomenon manifests itself in the world of work or the “labour market” in the form of mass unemployment, increasing precariousness and social insecurity on […]

Important outcome from Labour Court

The Labour Court has issued an important outcome for Freshway workers in a case taken by SIPTU under the new legislation. On the question of evidencing union membership Joe O’Flynn, General Secretary of SIPTU, swore an affidavit in advance of the hearing to the effect that 63 of 170 workers were union members. The Court viewed this, 37%, as ‘not insignificant’ and passing the first barrier. The Company argued that they collectively bargain with an internal staff consultation committee but the Court found that it wasn’t an excepted body and that the practice was not collective bargaining as defined by […]

TULF May Day Statement – Solidarity is alive in our class

TULF submission to the Right2Water

The Trade Union Left Forum encourages union members and workers to join the Dublin Council of Trade Unions May Day rally. The annual May Day parade will take place on Sunday May 1st, assembling at 2.30 pm at the Garden of Remembrance and from there going to Liberty Hall/Beresford Place. Working class consciousness and militancy is growing in Ireland. Our class is on the verge of a win on resisting the commodification of water through water charges and the maintenance of public ownership of this important resource and utility. We have got to this point through communities, unions and workers […]

WFTU May Day Statement

The World Federation of Trade Unions on the occasion of the International Workers’ Day on 1st May 2016 conveys a militant salute to all men and women of the working class and to the 92 million members of WFTU in 126 countries. Men and women, younger or older, employed or unemployed, migrants and refugees, the World Federation of Trade Unions wishes you strength, determination and courage in your small-scale or large-scale struggles. The multinationals, the reactionary governments, neo-fascist and racist forces, the imperialist mechanisms dread this day. Because it is a symbol of internationalism, a symbol of struggle, a symbol […]

Why are the 999 workers striking?

Call centres have deservedly achieved notorious reputations as places where managers seek to exert total control over workers. This often takes the form of bosses micro-managing the daily activities of workers, imposing unrealistic targets on staff in order to boost productivity and subjecting people to harsh disciplinary measures. Low pay, high staff turnover and no union rights are the norm in this sector. Although they help to save lives on a daily basis, these are the conditions that Ireland’s 999 emergency call operators have been working under since Conduit/BT began delivering the service. The contract for delivering the ECAS was […]

ICTU President Brian Campfield at the SF Ard Fheis

I wish to thank Sinn Fein for providing the opportunity to address this Ard Fheis on behalf the Irish trade union movement. It is of course an historic year during which we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the trade unions, generally, if not universally, take great pride in the role played by James Connolly and the Irish Citizen Army  in the Rising. I say generally because trades unions are also victims of the divisions in our country and in the interests of working class and trade union unity we have had to adopt a nuanced […]

What is workers’ education? – Stevie Nolan

Our answer to the question “What is the purpose of workers’ education?” is of course dependent on the broader question of “What is the purpose of trade unions?” Are unions a collective defence of interests aimed at advancing the terms and conditions of members (and only members), or are they a means of challenging capitalism and providing a political vehicle for advancing towards socialism? Is it reform or revolution? In Ireland the answer has always been fairly clear. We have never seen ourselves as being in a struggle against capital; we rarely even use the language of “capital” and “labour,” […]

Why have the Luas workers rejected the deal?

Let’s hear from the workers themselves as to why they rejected the deal. Watch this short 2 minute video. Thanks to Trade Union TV for this.