Government proposals on the “right to bargain”

The Government recently unveiled plans for addressing the fall-out from the 2007 Supreme Court ruling in the Ryanair and Impact dispute. This ruling undermined the operation of the Industrial Relations Acts (2001–04), known as the “Right to Bargain” legislation. The purpose of this legislation was to assist unionised workers in non-union firms where employers refused to collectively bargain in drawing on the support of the Labour Court to determine terms and conditions of employment. While the new proposals may make the legislation operational again, some doubts must be raised about what is now being offered. The source of the problem […]

The Problems with Work

Kathi Weeks New Labor Forum May 26, 2014 Despite my use of the singular in the title, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries (2011) explores several problems with work. My focus is not so much on the difficulties of this or that job but on the failures of the system of waged work together with the values and ways of life that support and are produced by it. Some of these problems fit under three general headings: underwork, overwork, and non-work. The first and most obvious problem is that of underwork. In a society that […]

All the key issues?

Last September the Trade Union Left Forum asked, will this Government guarantee the right to union representation for workers? (The full article can be read at www.tuleftforum.com/will-government-guarantee-right-union-representation-workers/). Judging by yesterday’s press statement by the Minister for jobs, enterprise, and innovation, Richard Bruton, on legislating for reform of the Industrial Relations Act (2001), the answer has to be a resounding and disappointing but not surprising No. The minister’s statement added very little to what he had already stated, and what was leaked to the media before Christmas. The Fine Gael minister has been clear that any legislation brought forward in this […]

New WFTU website a big improvement

The Secretariat is in the happy position to inform the members and friends of the WFTU that from May Day 2014 a new website is available at the www.wftucentral.org. The new, modern, more user-friendly, more practical website is an important step that will empower the communication and the coordination of the struggle of the class-oriented trade union movement. In the section “About Us” the visitor can find detailed information about the history, the constitution, the documents and the administration of the WFTU. In the section “Action” you can find the Statements, news about the Activities of the WFTU, news about […]

South Dublin County Council staff vote in favour of industrial action

IMPACT members working at South Dublin County Council have balloted in favour of industrial action following a decision by South Dublin County Council management to abolish ‘acting’ positions. The management decision effectively ordered staff to continue to perform senior duties, but on a lower pay rate. Staff at the local authority have voted in favour of industrial action by a margin of 86%. The form of industrial action to be taken is expected to be announced next week. IMPACT official Angela Kirk explained “In an act of calculated bad faith, council management announced its intention to cut the pay of […]

Alt-labor: a new union movement or the same old song?

Unions are evolving to survive, as protests against Walmart – without employees of the company – increasingly show. On a crisp and sunny morning on the day after Thanksgiving, a group of protesters gathered in front of a large Walmart in Michigan’s Sterling Heights, calling for wage increases and better working conditions for the superstore’s employees. Mary Johnson, a retiree and member of international activist group the Raging Grannies, stood next to Dan Lombardo, a plumber wearing old-fashioned overalls, who was carrying a sign stating “Walmart equals poverty.” Mothering Justice founder Danielle Atkinson, in a vibrant purple coat, turned up […]

Organize and fight for dignified work and life!

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) conveys a class, internationalist, and militant greetings to its almost 90 million affiliates in more than 120 countries of the world, to the class oriented trade union movement, to every worker all over the globe and calls them to honour this day with strikes, militant events, demonstrations. This year’s May Day finds the global working class under hazardous conditions. The recipe of all capitalist governments and imperialist mechanisms (IMF, World Bank, EU, etc.) for an “exit from the crisis” is the same in every country: pay – cuts, pension – cuts, authoritarianism, austerity, […]

Raising Our Expectations

Jane McAlevey challenges the Left to stop lamenting its disappointments in the working class and address our own failures. Taken from Portside Labor Sam Gindin Looking back to the defeat of the labor movement since the early 1980s, three lessons seem especially important. First, any gains made under capitalism are temporary; they can be reversed. Second, the kind of unionism we developed in that earlier period of gains was inherently limited; it left us in a poor position to respond to the subsequent attacks. Third, absent new forms of working class organization and practices, fatalism takes over and worker expectations […]

A rump clinging to the coat-tails of a future “partnership”?

Recent media reports suggest that, with a supposed “recovery” on the horizon, employers and unions are increasingly making noises about a return to some sort of partnership structure. The leadership of the unions, most notably Jack O’Connor and Shay Cody, have raised the idea of reconstituting some type of formal Employer-Labour Conference. IBEC’s response has been a cautious mixture: on the one hand, not entirely ruling out the possibility of such a forum, if only to deal with protracted individual disputes, while on the other, maintaining that firms are at different stages, and centralised wage direction is not an immediate […]

Legal attack on SIPTU is a warning to unions

Recently, various stories have appeared in the capitalist media about pay increases, hinting that IBEC and SIPTU want to return to some form of “social partnership,” purely on the pay issue. (None of the woolly stuff about social issues.) At the same time, capitalist shock-troops are using different negotiating tactics: force and intimidation. On the one hand, employers’ organisations have been leaking stories about pay increases; however, they want the “pay increases” to come from a reduction in tax. In other words, everyone finances pay increases for employers, so they increase their profits, and there is a further reduction in […]