Dunnes Strike a seminal moment for the Irish trade union movement

100 years ago workers would wait by the docks of Dublin in the hope that some captain of industry would pick them for a days work. In many instances their selection was the only thing keeping them and their families from going hungry, which in turn ensured a compliant workforce. Join the union, make a complaint about health and safety, or look at the boss in the wrong way and the employer could remove your ability to feed or clothe your family or heat your home. This Thursday, Dunnes Stores workers will strike against the very same constraints and mechanisms […]

Union Action on Increase

The Total Days Lost due to Industrial Stoppages, a CSO record, significantly increased last year. The total days out last year was 44,015 compared to just 14,965 in 2013. The teachers strike at the end of last year having the most significant impact but also the Greyhound dispute and action in the manufacturing sector. There is no doubt that union members, workers and communities are becoming more class conscious. Solidarity across communities and struggles is also on the up. Both the right2water campaign and opposition to water charges/meters as well as the upcoming Dunnes dispute have shown the increasing militancy […]

RIP Anne Casey

It is with deep sadness that we communicate the death of Anne Casey. Anne was a lifelong trade unionist, founding activist in the TULF and its first secretary. Anne was a member of Siptu up to her passing. Anne was particularly committed to trade union and worker education. She understood and saw education as liberating and empowering and a key element of building a militant and fighting trade union movement. She is missed by many in her family, by friends, by union activists and by those involved in the fight for socialism. Anne was a truly honest and brave comrade […]

Politics, Policy and Organising in the Windy City: Lessons from 2015 Chicago for Irish Trade Unionism

Two important events happened in Chicago in February 2015, which hold lessons for the Irish trade union movement. Firstly, a major report was released by the Chicago Teachers Union, the highly politicised and organised 2012 strike winners and enemies of the Chicago establishment. It was entitled A Just Chicago: Fighting for the City Our Students Deserve (full report available at http://www.ctunet.com/quest-center/research/position-papers/a-just-chicago ). It proposed wide ranging solutions to a crisis in city education, which went far beyond base union issues such as pay and conditions. Situating school as the heart of communities, it also proposed substantive solutions to a range […]

The strike is the key to union renewal and working class power

Reviving the strike – How working people can regain power and transform America By Joe Burns Available on pdf at http://www.tuleftforum.com/discussion-papers/ and for purchase at http://www.revivingthestrike.org/ Striking to stop production This is a must-read book for trade unionists and left activists. Though it deals mainly with the American labour movement and conditions there, its main points and recommendations easily apply in Ireland. The author, Joe Burns, is a union lawyer, negotiator and activist for many decades, most recently involved in the airline industry and health services. He is adamant that the movement needs to return to the strike as the […]

It’s time for a radically new Congress

Ireland: the greatest small country in the world to do business in. Unfortunately, it’s not the greatest small country in the world to live or work in. Ultimately that’s the success of the business class (the actual capitalist class of owners and speculators, the big farmer class and the layer of ‘management’ that run capitalism here for their masters) and the failure of the trade union and workers’ movement. Low corporation tax, low income tax for high earners, tax avoidance schemes that are ultimately compensated for by workers, indirect taxes that go to bondholders, low investment in public infrastructure, public […]

Class-consciousness is increasing

The Right2Water campaign and communities from all over the country last week held their third massive national mobilisation within a few months, and the message was clear: people won’t be bullied or bribed, and they see through government lies and propaganda. The recent retreat by the government is not enough, and is not accepted by the people. The government has lost the Irish Water issue and has no popular mandate. The view of hundreds of thousands of people and families is irrefutable; the government does not have our support to govern. Last week’s protest followed an intensification of violence, supervision […]

New Briefing Document: Public Enterprise versus Private Inefficiency

The Trade Union Left Forum has put this brief guide, available at http://www.tuleftforum.com/discussion-papers/, for union activists to use in combating commonly used arguments in favour of privatisation and against public ownership. There is mounting evidence of the value of public-sector investment, compared with the inefficiency and waste of private-led investment; yet this is silenced by the privately owned media, just as they call into question the right of communities to peacefully resist the imposition of water charges. We have all had arguments with a friend or colleague where the claim of the efficiency of the market is made, that competition is […]

Rejecting the slurs and seizing the moment

In recent weeks we have seen a concerted and co-ordinated effort by the Government, the Gardaí and the media to paint protesters as dangerous and violent, with an agenda of manipulating communities into confrontation for the sake of confrontation. This is a deliberate and outrageous misrepresentation of protesters and communities that are opposing Irish Water, the installation of meters, and water charges more generally. It is insulting to our class and shows the contempt in which the establishment hold us. Reports of violence against Irish Water employees and gardaí are spun and widely commented on without a shred of evidence. […]

Water charges the EU and TTIP!

The origin of the planned water charges lies in the EU’s Water Framework Directive (2000), which provided for full cost recovery for water use and whose Article 9 states; ‘Member States shall take account of the principle of recovery of the costs of water services …’ It also required Member States to have in place water-pricing policies by 2010. The Directive was transposed into Irish Law in 2003. The Water Framework Directive, which seeks to commodify water provision through the establishment of the principle of recovery of the costs of water services. The EU took advantage of the ‘bailout’ to […]