PAME Union Activists in Greece

The TULF send our solidarity and best wishes to the 35 PAME union activists in Greece who were found innocent on December 20th having been arrested and tried for disturbing the peace and public services during a union strike last January 2013. Their lawyer summed up the reason for their arrest “it was very clear that the trial had political characteristics and features in order to strike against the workers who are really resisting.” And as one of the 35, and executive committee members of PAME, said: “We have serious fronts of struggle ahead of us. The fronts of health, […]

Do we want a co-ordinated market economy?

David Begg recently published a paper called “Trade Unions and the Common Good,” which forms the opening of the second report of the Commission on the Irish Trade Union Movement. This was established to reform the trade union movement, with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of unions to fewer than ten and centralising the movement in a federal structure under the ICTU. This is a hugely important process and one that should have the active attention of all trade unionists. Yet despite its far-reaching aims and goals, there has been virtually no discussion of it among elected representatives […]

The Fairy Tales of Kildare Street

The fanfares for the minister’s budget speech in the Dáil are now over. It was a cleverly written speech, with lots of spin, incomplete figures, and a drip-feed of cuts in the days following it. The orchestrated sound-bites are designed to cover what is yet another savage attack on the ill, the old, youth, women, and workers in general. It gives priority to private health over public health, so driving people to private insurers and monopoly health-providers. Cuts to the subvention to public transport will only benefit private transport operators. The budget is a further consolidation of the drive to […]

16 October 2013: The day CWU postal members invaded the beaches of global capitalism

Today is a momentous day in the history of industrial relations between the 500-year-old (and now privatised) Royal Mail group, which is the British postal operator, and its postal workers, who are represented by the Communications Workers’ Union. The result of a ballot by the CWU on industrial action was returned today, with a Yes vote of 78 per cent and a No vote of 22 per cent, the turn-out being 64 per cent. The privatisation of the 500-year-old institution has been one of the most unpopular in recent times, both among employees of the business, reflected in a consultative […]

What would be a fitting tribute?

There could not be a greater opportunity to revitalise an ailing trade union movement than the commemoration and celebration of the 1913 Lock-out. We have seen, and commented on, how the state, in conjunction with parts of the movement, has initiated its commemoration; and we are unfortunately expecting a let-down in collective bargaining legislation, as Richard Bruton has been clear in his intention to reform the previous failed legislation and keep it within Ireland’s commitment to attracting foreign investment. But how could the movement do justice to the men and women of the Lock-out? Firstly, there would have to be […]

Reply to Trade Union Left Forum News Item of September 27th, 2013

The state commemoration on Saturday, August 31st, 2013, was the first official acknowledgement of the role of organised labour in the creation and development of the Irish state. It was secured in spite of intense opposition from business interests and it was important from our point of view both for its symbolic value and as part of the campaign to have legislation on collective bargaining passed during the life of the current Government. This is the first time such a commitment has been secured in a Programme for Government, due to the Labour Party’s participation in that Government. This is […]

Larkin laid to rest in state funeral

Saturday 31 August saw the state do its best to bury the soul and spirit of Larkinism through its official commemoration of the 1913 Lockout. While this was the official state event, there is no doubt it also had the support and the involvement of elements of the trade union leadership, although their level of involvement or control over the event is not clear. Certainly this year has seen an array of excellent and worthwhile commemorations, in the form of new research, essays and books, new web sites, series of podcasts, radio debates, community television broadcasts, public meetings, events in […]

Solidarity with the members of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland

The Trade Union Left Forum expresses its solidarity with the members of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland in rejecting the Haddington Road Agreement despite the threats and bullyboy tactics of the government. The threats to cuts allowances and enforce compulsory redundancies by the Labour Party Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn and by Labour Party Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin by using the draconian Financial Emergency Legislation (Fempi) against trade union members is a challenge not just to ASTI members but to all public sector workers. All workers need to stand together and resist this governments bullying and […]

Will this Government guarantee the right to union representation for workers?

The Labour Party, in this centenary year of the heroic struggle of 1913, claims to be committed to providing the legal right to trade union representation and collective bargaining for workers with their employers. They claim it is part of the Programme for Government that they negotiated with their coalition partners, Fine Gael—though in reality all this commits them to is reforming existing legislation to be in line with recent rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. The relevant minister, Richard Bruton (Fine Gael), requested submissions on this subject earlier in the year and has made a commitment to […]

Trade Union Left Forum Pamphlet

To mark the one hundredth anniversary of the 1913 lockout the Trade Union Left Forum has chosen to reprint a number of James Connolly’s important articles on the politics of trade union organisation and struggle. Connolly is without doubt Ireland’s great working class intellectual and organiser. His politics were unceremoniously class politics. To his understanding of history and his choice of strategy and tactics for his day he brought class analysis rooted in the works of Marx. He unapologetically represented his class in all aspects of life and struggle including union organisation, national freedom and cultural expression. Everything he did […]