TULF Mayday Statement

Solidarity greetings from Trade Union Left Forum to the working class of Ireland and around the world who continue to struggle against the “Cost of Capitalism Crisis” manifested in poverty, inequality, precariousness, homelessness, war and environmental catastrophe.
As inflation soared last year Irish workers took a 3.9% pay cut while workers share across the globe was cut by an average of 3.19%. 
The difference between wage growth and surging prices meant workers in Ireland effectively worked for nothing for 8.3 days.
Wages lagged behind inflation by an average of €2,107 per worker amounting to a total cut of over €5billion from the Workers share of the wealth we produce.
Average CEO’s pay rose by 9% over the same period widening pay scales and inequality.
These pay cuts boosted profits as shareholder dividends hit a record $1.56tn last year, a 10% real-term growth compared to 2021.
US corporations paid out $574bn (€518bn) to their shareholders, over double US workers’ total real wage pay cut.
Brazilian shareholders received $34bn, just shy of what the country’s workers lost in real wages.
It’s called #Capitalism 
Progress towards reducing extreme poverty ground to a halt as extreme poverty and extreme wealth grew simaltaneiusly for the first time in 25 years.
Capitalism continues to tighten the screw on workers, we’ve gone from the days where there was a plentiful supply of public housing, no Hospital Waiting lists, when one person working in a household was enough to feed, clothe and provide a home for the average family to today with two people working it is not enough to feed a family never mind pay the rent.
Another difference between then and now is union Density, union density has fallen from 60% of workers to less than 25% today.
These two facts are not unrelated. 
Today we have 140,000 people on the housing waiting list, 12,000 people are homeless and over a million people on hospital waiting lists.
These stats are identical on both sides of the British imposed border in Ireland and similar for workers around the world as Capitalism forces workers to take an ever decreasing share of the wealth we produce.
This hasn’t just happened it is not an accident, it is planned by the elites and executed by there lackeys in parliaments from Dublin to Paris from Tokyo to Berlin.
As James Connolly said “Government in a Capitalist Society is but a committee to order the affairs of the Rich.”
Employers are well organised and they are winning the war being waged against the working class.
TULF call on all workers to join a union and get active and organised and fight back
Our numbers are our strength:
Working Class Solidarity can be the sword that slays the capitalist beast and finally gives back to the working class what is rightfully ours.
We only want the Earth!
Statement Ends.

Six Counties Strikes Today

Solidarity with all workers on strike today in the Six Counties. There are not two communities in the North there are two classes one divided by the other to stay in power

We have one common enemy CAPITALISM North and South.

Speaking today NIPSA General Secretary said::It is a myth to think there is no money for workers, according to General Secretary of NIPSA Carmel Gates.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ms Gates said payments to a number of key youth services, including the extended schools scheme and holiday hunger payments, are being cut.

Economic sanctions are being imposed on political parties in Northern Ireland, Ms Gates said, but it is the ordinary working family that is suffering.

“The Tories don’t even argue there’s no money anymore because there’s enough money for all their pet projects.

“There’s enough money for contracts for their friends and big business.

“The only people that there aren’t enough money for are workers, ordinary working people.”

NIPSA members are calling for a minimum pay increase of inflation plus 5%, Ms Gates said.

“Members have lost around 20% over the last ten years.”


SIPTU water workers in Limerick Cork, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and Fingal vote for strike action

As SIPTU members in the water services ballot around the country to protect earnings for workers not transferring to isce Eireann but remaining in their local authorities, early results from Limerick, Cork, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and Fingal confirm huge support for strike action.

Karan O Loughlin, Divisional Organiser for SIPTU’s Public Administration and Community Division said: “There is a high level of frustration among our members in water services at the lack of commitment from the various local authorities as to how the value of earnings will be retained once Uisce Eireann assume responsibility for the provision of water services nationally. 

“The framework agreement clearly states that terms and conditions are to be retained, but when we tested the meaning of that with the local authorities, it was clear that while core terms and conditions would be protected, the commitment on the retention of the value of earnings was not there. This is a key part of enabling the successful transfer to Uisce Eireann and without it, the transfer just won’t happen.”

Brendan O Brien, SIPTU Sector Organiser for the Local Authority Sector, said: “The high level of support for strike among the members balloted demonstrates that they are extremely concerned at the financial hit they will take if the principle of no loss of income is not retained after this change. 

“Significant amounts of money could be lost from wages as a result of the political decision taken by the Government which neither SIPTU nor water workers can influence. There will be significant disruption to water services, both domestic and for business, if the necessary commitments are not clearly spelled out.”

The ballot will run until May 4th with more results to be declared as it concludes in each local authority area.

International News -Solidarity petition with the more than 400 dismissed workers by SERPAPROCA in Venezuela

The World Federation of Trade Unions, the militant voice of 105 million workers from 133 of the 5 continents, strongly condemns the dismissals of more than 400 workers by Servicio Panamericanos de Protección C.A. (SERPAPROCA), a company specializing in the protection and transfer of valuables and constitutes an affiliate of the USA-based multinational group Brinks.

The dismissals dated from 2009 and culminated in 2020, affecting more than 400 workers mainly in Carabobo, Aragua, Barquisimeto, Bolivar, Surce, Zulia, Distrito Capital, Merida, Apure are patently violating the constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as well as the Labour, Workers, and Employees Organic Law (LOTT).

We demand an immediate end to the mass dismissals and the anti-labor practices implemented by SERPAPROCA and the unconditional reinstatement of all fired workers. The WFTU calls on the government of Venezuela to promptly intervene, imposing the constitutionally safeguarded rights of the workers and ensuring all the labor and trade union rights and freedoms.

The WFTU calls upon its affiliates and friends to extend their solidarity with the just demand of the workers, organizing solidarity actions

WFTU Solidarity Day with the people of Peru on January 31st, 2023

he World Federation of Trade Unions fully condemns the anti-democratic and authoritarian practices of the regime in Peru with murders, detentions, and blatant violation of even the most fundamental human rights of the Peruvian people.

The international class-oriented trade union movement once again stands beside the people of Peru and demands an immediate end to the bloodshed, the abuse of power, and the abnormal and unconstitutional developments that followed the removal of the president of Peru.

We unequivocally condemn the violent repression against the people’s demonstrations and workers’ struggles and freedoms and the murderous violence of the repressing mechanisms resulting in tens of dead protesters.

It is obvious that all the old and dirty tactics have been used, taking advantage of infiltrators and vandals who have nothing to do with the authentic workers’ movement, in order to delegitimize the mobilizations and target the class-oriented trade unions, their leadership, and to criminalize the protests and their just demands.

The World Federation of Trade Unions joins its voice with the Peruvian Working Class demanding:

-The immediate and unconditional release of all the trade unionists and protesters who are detained and the end of the repression and ongoing political prosecutions.

-Fully respecting of the trade union and democratic rights, including the unalienable right to protest and strike.

– Ensure conditions for the effective execution of the democratic right of the Peruvian people to freely decide for their present and future, without any discriminatory and authoritarian acts.

– Implementation of the just workers’ demands for dignified working and living conditions and satisfaction of contemporary needs.

The WFTU Secretariat is organizing an International Solidarity Day with the people of Peru on January 31st, 2023, and calls the WFTU affiliates as well as all the militant, class-oriented trade unions all over the globe to actively participated in International Solidarity Day.



WFTU GS: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2035094800013456

Italy: https://www.facebook.com/unionesindacaledibase/videos/1992671301078563

Italy: https://www.facebook.com/unionesindacaledibase/videos/1992671301078563

Panama: https://www.facebook.com/sindicatoSuttp/videos/725838525720765

Greece: https://twitter.com/PAME_Greece/status/1618954124644728832

Urugay: https://www.facebook.com/100049473336544/videos/1533580653734116/

Moroccο: https://www.facebook.com/taalim.org.fne/videos/760061781734965/


The reality of Trickle down economics

The upward redistribution of wealth over the past 40 years has shifted $50 trillion from the bottom 90% to the top 1%.

That’s $50 trillion that would have gone into the paychecks of ordinary working people had inequality held constant

$50 trillion that would have built a far larger and more prosperous economy—$50 trillion that would have enabled the vast majority of people to be far more healthy, resilient, and financially secure.

In real terms this means that If you are earning $35,000 a year You are being paid $26,000 a year less than you would have had income distributions held constant.

If income distribution had remained constant you’d be on $61,000

Trickle down? Flood up.

It’s called #Capitalism


Legislative change needed to enable workers work more than their ‘banded-hours’ contracts where extra working hours are available

Research to be published today in a Mandate Trade Union report, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ (15952_smoke&mirrors_report_interior), shows that nearly two-thirds of retail workers are earning less than €451 per week. The biggest challenge in terms of decent incomes shown in the report is the number of hours worked in the sector and the union is calling for legislative change to enable workers to work more than their ‘banded-hours’ contracts where extra working hours are available.

Dr Conor McCabe, researcher with the Queen’s University Management School, Belfast – who prepared the report for the union – said that while hourly rates have been improving, this hasn’t been fully reflected in weekly earnings because of the relatively low number of hours being worked by retail workers.

“Last July, Mandate Trade Union conducted a survey amongst 3,000 of its members and the feedback showed that just one fifth (21%) were earning more than the weekly Living Wage which was €502 back then. What’s more, the research shows that nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents (64%) were earning below €451 per week and this is due mainly to the relatively low number of working hours available to retail workers with the CSO showing that such staff work 72% of the average national working week.

“The Mandate survey shows that 75% of the respondents were on a banded-hours contract and, of this cohort, over 50% were on a contract of 31 hours or more a week. A significant number of these workers, 40%, would like to work more than their banded hours. While some do get that opportunity, many do not due to a mix of management intransigence and care responsibilities,” Dr Conor McCabe said.

Mandate General Secretary, Gerry Light said that legislative change is needed to allow workers increase their working hours where extra hours are available so that they can get a decent weekly income.

“The 2018 Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act has helped retail workers by introducing ‘banded-hours’ contracts which provide a minimum floor of hours and have gotten rid of zero-hour contracts. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ shows that further change is needed to enable workers to avail of extra working hours where those hours are available. Our experience on the ground shows that where extra hours are available, many companies are actively choosing to by-pass offering those hours to existing staff who are looking for them, instead choosing to go with ‘new starts’ in order to keep wage their bills down.”

Gerry Light also said that the National Minimum Wage now needs to be replaced with a Cost of Living Wage.

“The National Minimum Wage is no longer fit for purpose in terms of helping workers avoid poverty – particularly at a time of rapid increases in the cost of living. To tackle this problem, the National Minimum Wage needs to be replaced by a Cost of Living Wage which would ensure that everyone in work can have enough income to live decently. In addition, the sub-minimum rates that apply to young workers and deny them decent incomes – as well as being blatantly discriminatory – need to be abolished too,” Gerry Light concluded.

Fórsa calls out failure to include all health staff in assault scheme

Ireland’s largest public service union, Fórsa, has today (Wednesday) criticised what it describes as multiple failures of leadership by the Department of Health.

In an opening statement to the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee this morning, convened to discuss the welfare and safety of workers and patients in the public health service, Fórsa officials said the department’s current approach to leadership involves ignoring staff concerns about a broad range of issues.

These include the withdrawal of protections for staff experiencing long Covid conditions, a failure to expand the assault scheme to include all health staff, in addition to what Fórsa described as ‘arbitrary’ exclusions of some health workers from the pandemic recognition payment, and the ongoing issue of pay inequality between public health service workers and those in the community and voluntary sector.

Fórsa officials Ashley Connolly and Linda Kelly told the committee that the Department of Health’s approach to these issues was either to ignore them or to tie them up in long, drawn-out industrial relations processes “with little or no chance of a meaningful, effective outcome.”

They said the union’s position is that the department’s approach reflects “problematic cultural issues across the sector.”

Ms Kelly said: “It tells our members that that they are not valued, that their work is not important, respected or recognised and that their passion to do the best for the citizens arriving in front of them is misplaced.”

Ms Connolly also outlined a ‘significant’ failure, over multiple health service delivery plans, “to invest in clerical and administrative staff as well as HSCPs (health and social care professionals), pharmacy and other grades in a strategic and planned manner to meet service needs.”

She said a direct result of this failure to invest in recruitment has created pressure points across the health sector, most notably in the Assessment of Need, Children’s Disability Network teams, mental health, payroll, pensions, and outpatient services.

In its recommendations, Fórsa urged the committee to recognise the imminent transition to regional health authorities (RHAs) as a ‘pivotal’ moment to challenge the current leadership approach of the Department of Health, and to ensure that RHAs are appropriately resourced, in order to foster a culture of meaningful leadership in each regional area.

Fórsa also recommended the committee seek an urgent workforce retention plan from the Department of Health for all grades, and as part of that plan seek ring-fenced funding for continuing professional development for all grades, and to ensure such funding is equitably distributed.

The union also urged the committee to consider the department’s failure to engage on community and voluntary sector pay terms. Ms Connolly said: “We can’t seriously discuss the welfare and safety of staff if we don’t address fundamental issues of financial need in a cost-of-living crisis.”

The union has backed a course of indefinite strike action in community and voluntary agencies delivering health services, and is currently identifying agencies in which to ballot. Fórsa’s own research has found that community and voluntary organisations are losing up to 30% of staff each year, with workers leaving to avail of better terms in the HSE and other employments.

There’s never been a better time to join a union, and it’s never been easier. Join Fórsa today.

Fórsa backs indefinite strike action in a number of community and voluntary sector health services

Fórsa backs indefinite strike action in a number of community and voluntary sector health services

Union leader slams ‘foot-dragging’ approach of Government to addressing pay and conditions inequality

Fórsa’s national executive has backed a proposal for indefinite strike action in a number of community and voluntary sector agencies funded by the HSE.

The action is likely to involve hundreds of health and care staff, in a number of agencies selected by the union. The union has also committed to footing the wage costs of striking staff.

‘Section 39’ agencies provide a range of residential and day services for people with disabilities, mental health, addiction, domestic and sexual violence services, and other supports, under service level agreements with the HSE. Similarly, Section 56 agencies operate in a similar way for children’s services, funded by Tusla.

While these agencies are funded by the state, their employees in a range of health professional, clinical, clerical and administrative grades, are on lesser terms and conditions than their HSE counterparts.

Fórsa general secretary and Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) president Kevin Callinan said: “As one of the main representative unions involved, Fórsa has decided to call time on the Government’s dragging of its own feet on this issue.

“The union’s executive has backed the decision to identify a number of these employments and to organise indefinite strike action to highlight this ongoing pay inequality, which simply cannot be sustained.

“Up to a third of experienced professional health and care staff are leaving their jobs in these agencies every year to take up better remunerated employment with the HSE and elsewhere.

“We will ballot for indefinite industrial action in a number of employments, and Fórsa will foot the wage costs of those staff who go on strike. Services will simply be brought to a halt. At this stage, no other course of action will drive the point home,” he said.


Mr Callinan added that while limited strike action by Fórsa members in Galway, Mayo, Cork and Kerry last year garnered strong support from across the political spectrum, he said neither the Government, Department of Health or the HSE have since taken any meaningful action to address the issue, and workers continue to be left behind.

He added: “On the one hand, the health minister acknowledged in the Dáil last October that the Government is the ‘main and often sole funder’ of these organisations, and that its funding affects the ability of agencies to improve pay and conditions.

“On the other hand, it has spectacularly failed to grasp the link between its chronic underfunding of the services and the subsequent failure to meet the HSE’s recruitment targets in, for example, disability services. For every member of staff freshly recruited, another experienced staff member is walking out the door. The situation is both unacceptable and unsustainable.

“Government action is essential. It needs to address the funding of organisations in the sector, to make pay improvements for staff, stem the high rate of staff exits each year and fulfil recruitment targets for vital health services, including disability and homeless services,” he said.

Until 2008, workers in these agencies received pay increases under national wage agreements. At the onset of the financial crisis they were subject to FEMPI pay cuts in line with the same cuts applied to public sector pay. Limited pay restoration measures were eventually won by unions in 2019 but pay in these agencies remains significantly behind, and no formal mechanism for collective pay bargaining exists for workers in the sector.

Fórsa’s research has revealed that recruitment and retention of professional health staff in these employments has become a major challenge. The union said Section 39 employers are burdened with higher recruitment costs and growing waiting lists for services.

There’s never been a better time to join a union, and it’s never been easier. Join Fórsa today.


What is the Industrial Relations Act?

An excellent article from the Socialist Voice website in explaining the Industrial Relations Act.

The Industrial Relations Act (1990) was introduced on 18 July 1990, replacing the Trade Disputes Act (1906), the main principle of which was that anything done in a trade dispute, provided it was not illegal in itself, would be free from criminal and civil liability.

The 1990 act was introduced as a control mechanism on trade unions. It was a response to equivalent legislation being introduced in Britain because of increasing levels of industrial unrest and strikes, as dissatisfaction rose during the 1970s and 80s when the post-war gains made by workers under social democracy were slashed. Unions were being softened as they became cosy with the state under “social partnership,” and allowed it to be introduced with a minimum of fuss.

Among some unions there were serious issues with many parts of the act, covering political strikes, secondary pickets, individual workers’ rights, and the change in requirements covering strike ballots; but the act was passed and accepted. Reassurances and guarantees were given by the then minister for labour, Bertie Ahern (a former union official), who was regarded as a friend and sympathetic to workers’ rights. This has not proved to be the case, as his guarantees have proved to be about as reliable as his memory over his financial affairs.

The act introduced many changes to the accepted norms of industrial relations up to that time.

The definition of a worker was very loose and left self-employed and contract workers vulnerable, with the “gig economy” and bogus self-employment on the rise. This is something that has huge implications today.

In single-worker disputes the individual worker is very vulnerable, as all agreed procedures must be exhausted before action is taken. So the issue has to be dealt with first by a rights commissioner, the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Relations Commission before collective action is taken. This could take months, if not years; and there will be no guarantee of reinstatement at the end.

This leads to individual workers being at a huge disadvantage, which strikes at the very heart of the trade union principle of “an injury to one is an injury to all.”

Political strikes are banned. This would rule out tax marches. It would rule illegal the strike by the ten brave workers in Dunne’s Stores who stood up to the South African apartheid regime by not handling South African goods in 1984. (Even Ben Dunne has said of this strike that, on reflection, you cannot defend the indefensible.) It rules out a similar action against Israeli products today.

The CIE companies are very vulnerable in this regard, as during the dispute in 2015 over the selling off of 10 per cent of the service to private operators the implication by the Government was that this was deemed a political issue. With more of this coming down the line in the three CIE companies, it is an industrial minefield. It will also have huge implications for the ESB and all state-sector workers as the spectre of privatisation hovers over Ireland.

Secondary picketing and support strikes are also banned. During the Bus Éireann dispute recently it was the secondary picketing on Dublin Bus and Irish Rail depots that eventually forced the company to the negotiating table; but this was illegal and could have been very expensive for the trade unions involved.

A secret ballot of all members must be carried out before a strike can take place, and seven days’ notice must be given to the employer involved. The executive of the union has the final say on whether a strike is to go ahead in the case of a majority vote in favour, but there is no similar authority where a minority vote for strike.

Some industrial disputes require immediate action and can’t wait for the seven days’ notice required. This could happen in the case of a health and safety issue, when immediate action might be needed in the interests of workers’ safety. The recent situation with Clery’s department store required immediate action, but this was not available to the workers in question.

Sit-ins are also illegal.

These are all weapons whose use (or even the threat of their use) workers no longer have available to them. This weakens workers’ power and strengthens employers.

Judicial interpretation of what is a strike and what is a legal ballot or dispute are the essence of the 1990 act. The possibilities for litigation are endless. The decision is put in the hands of the judiciary, who have never been friends of workers. Strikes and industrial action can be delayed for weeks, which allows employers to take action to lessen the effect of the strike.

There is a willingness and an ability by employers to sue unions and officials for loss of income caused by industrial action, which has been made possible under the 1990 act. Under the 1906 act this was not possible, as unions were deemed exempt from such action. This is a huge weakening of the labour movement.

Trade unions act to promote values of social solidarity and to provide a check on the socially corrosive effects of the markets and individualism. The 1990 act is the worst dilution of workers’ rights in the history of this state. It facilities employers and gives them the power to question how ballots are carried out. A ballot was purely an internal matter for a trade union, but not according to the 1990 act.

In a survey in 1997 of union officials, 73 per cent said that the 1990 act was a mistake that should not have been accepted in its present form.

With pay and conditions under attack, rising inequality, and poverty at crisis levels, for workers to defend themselves in this neo-liberal climate we need to repeal the 1990 act and to strengthen workers’ power, and bring a bit of pride and solidarity back among workers if the trade union movement is to survive.

People in struggle gain class-consciousness from that struggle. It’s time for the trade union movement to fight back against the class war being waged against us. To do this we need to tip the balance of power from capital to labour. The first step is to repeal the 1990 act, and the equivalent anti-union legislation in the North.

Unions must become radical or become redundant.


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