Defend public wealth: resist privatisation

“We have to get beyond sectoral interests and look at the common good, to defend the very idea of social ownership as an alternative to the anarchy and chaos of corporate monopoly capitalism.”—Extract from the TULF’s pamphlet Robbing the People’s Wealth. This January the Trade Union Left Forum met in the TEEU offices and agreed to launch a campaign in defence of public wealth and opposition to privatisation. Members and activists from a range of unions, public and private-sector, shared their experiences of the scale of privatisation that is under way and the loss to the public of valuable assets […]

Solidarity – More Than Just Support

What is solidarity? The dictionary definition online said “mutual support within a group”. Not very dramatic, rousing, or uplifting I agree. But it is still one of the most important, yet sadly underused, tools of the trade union movement. A prime example of the need for solidarity is what was happening in Ireland coming up to the Christmas period, regarding the media portrayal of the ESB workers and their then-threatened strike action. They were being labelled as “selfish”, “greedy”, “holding the country to ransom”, just because they were standing up and fighting for their rights to reclaim the pension deficit […]

Professional and Industrial Organizing Scores Banner Year

“You heard a common theme from many of our speakers – if we stand still, we die. If we don’t change what’s not working, then we are condemning ourselves to a slow death.” – President Edwin D. Hill at the 38th International Convention, Vancouver 2011 Change. It’s inevitable. But progress comes only through perseverance, doubling down and refining your efforts. This year, organizing in the professional and industrial sector — comprised of utilities, telecommunications, manufacturing, government, broadcasting and railroad — has helped thousands of workers raise their voices for fair pay, decent benefits and the added dignity that comes on […]

National Wage Control or Union Won Increases?

It seems that IBEC and the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) are both calling for some kind of new centralised national wage/income agreement to control pay, as some would put it, in the ‘national interest’. The two leading figures from these organisations (Danny McCoy and Kieran Mulvey respectively) have all in recent weeks made noises about the possibility of a national agreement between union, employers and the Government on pay and income with the Sunday Business Post going as far as suggesting informal discussions have already commenced on this. Is this signs of a tip in class power or is this […]

A Communist Vision of Trade Unions: A Review

Review of Toni Gilpin, “Left by Themselves: A History of the United Farm Equipment and Metal Workers Union, 1938-1955” Volumes I and II (Ph.D dss., Yale University, 1992) From 1947 until 1955, Local 236 of the United Farm Equipment and Metal Workers Union (FE) at the International Harvester company’s plant in Louisville, Kentucky, exemplified a union run according to the Communist vision of trade unionism. One of its officers, an African-American, James Wright, who subsequently served as an organizer for the United Electrical Workers (UE) and still later as a regional director of the United Automobile Workers (UAW), called the […]

Workers win with their unions

Calling all Electricians NATIONAL STRIKE February 2014

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The only option is class struggle

In March 2013, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, spoke at a conference held in Chicago. His remarks were on the plight of working people in the USA and the continued inability of the labor movement to gain new members and reverse its downward trend. In preparation for the AFL-CIO convention in September 2013, the top leadership has issued a call for a discussion on what they have termed, “new models and new ways to gain representation and represent workers.” Trumka detailed some of the major problems facing unions and working people which included a declining membership, reduced retirement security, […]

Labour Party pushing the privatisation of schools

The new education “reforms” being promoted by Brendan Howlin and Ruairí Quinn are a step closer to the all-out privatisation of our schools. In essence, schools would be given a lump sum in public funding but would have the authority and autonomy to spend this as they saw fit. They would have control over class sizes and over the number of teachers they required, how many special-needs assistance they required, and other resources and materials. This would remove the national regulations that the state attaches to funding, which require certain standards and best practice be met for every school, so […]

Building Class Consciousness in 2014

The Trade Union Left Forum (TULF) was set up in late 2011 by class and politically conscious trade unionists from across both public and private sector unions. The aim of the TULF is to provide a space for left trade unionists to freely discuss the position of the movement today and how to build a militant class conscious union movement that is so clearly needed. Privatisation is a huge class issue today as the policies of the Troika and our own ruling elite continue to hand over public wealth to private business as risk and debt are socialised and profits […]