Initial public sector pay offer lacks credibility

The officers of the Public Services Committee (PSC) of the Irish Congress of trade Unions (ICTU) met with affiliate and non-affiliated unions and associations this morning to provide an update on the public sector pay talks, which adjourned at 3am this morning.

Unions expressed concern that the Government’s initial pay offering last night illustrated its lack of preparedness to complete a sustainable and robust multi-year pay deal, and further undermined perceptions of the Government’s approach to the process of securing a new agreement.

Speaking after the meeting, PSC chair and Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan said, in failing to meet the basic test of dealing with the cumulative gap between wages and inflation – amounting to almost 19% over the last three years – the initial pay offer of seven per cent, with 1.5% payable in March this year, would equally fail any test of credibility in a ballot of union members.

He added: “The Government has effectively undermined its own approach to negotiating a multi-year public sector pay agreement in a number of ways.

“In contrast to its recent measures to address the cost-of-living challenge on the National Minimum Wage and social protection payments, where it has demonstrated a real pragmatism, its approach to completing a public sector pay agreement lacks credibility,” he said.

John King of Siptu added: “The initial offering – which would have put little more (before deductions) than an average of just €5 per week in the wages of low-income public sector workers, and €10 per week in the wages of those on middle-incomes in the first year – failed the basic test of creating a robust agreement in the face of a continuing cost-of-living crisis.”

Phil Ní Sheaghdha of the INMO added: “The tabling of that pay offer followed months of delay before the process of negotiations got underway last year, painfully slow progress over the course of 11 meetings in November and December, consequently allowing the previous agreement to lapse at the end of 2023.

“All of these factors really undermine the credibility of the Government’s approach to doing a deal and, as we adjourned this morning, a significant gap on pay measures between both sides remains,” she said.

John Boyle of the INTO said: “We remain focused on returning to the negotiations to ensure we can complete a deal that is robust enough to endure the 30-month period envisaged,” he said.

The PSC unions also finalised the wording of a ballot for industrial action, with unions poised to commence a ballot should it become necessary in the coming days.


Update Fair Employment Bill 2022

#Solidarity with Independent Councillor Cieran Perry for proposing the motion and with Dublin City Council who last night voted in favour of supporting replacing the anti-worker 1990 Industrial Relations Act with the Fair Employment Bill 2022 (2)

The 1990 act was introduced as a control mechanism on trade unions. The act introduced many changes to the accepted norms of industrial relations up to that time. It banned support strikes, solidarity action, political strikes, sit-ins and immediate action. It isolated individual workers and introduced 7 day notice. It puts many conditions and restrictions around balloting for industrial action so much so that you would need a barrister in one hand and a ballot box in the other to take strike action today. It ended Union autonomy and transferred what were always Union decision to the judiciary.

At the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) biennial delegate conference in 2021 the following motion proposed by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) and amended by Connect Trade Union was unanimously passed and is now ICTU policy

“Conference recognises that the restrictions on trade union action in the 1990 Industrial Relations Act need to be opposed, and that the act should be reformed to restore rights which trade unions had before 1990. Conference mandates the executive to seek an alternative legislative regime which would allow trade union and industrial action for workers, for issues that concern workers across society and, across employers, and for effective solidarity to workers in dispute”

The Trade Union Left Forum have drafted a bill for that alternative legislative regime as per the DCTU motion which replaces rights lost by workers as a result of the 1990 act.

The bill is called the Fair Employment Bill 2022.

Now we need to progress the Fair Employment Bill as drafted by the Trade Union Left Forum

This is a very necessary piece of legislation that will create a level playing field between workers and employers.

“With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organisation of people that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in people, than any other association of people.” — Clarence Darrow.

Public transport funding needed to ensure cost of living pay increase for workforce

Workers from Unite, GMB and SIPTU will take 24-hour strike action commencing from 00.01am Friday [1 December] in pursuit of a cost of living pay increase. 

The strike action will affect bus and rail services across Northern Ireland and the action by members of all three public transport unions is likely to mean that no services will operate throughout the day. The strike is the first to occur on bus and rail since 2015. 

The industrial action follows coordinated strike ballots held by the three unions which returned overwhelming support for industrial action. Bus workers in Unite voted 96.5 per cent for strike, Translink workers in GMB voted 95.6 per cent for strike and in SIPTU by 93.1 per cent.  The ballots were conducted after workers rejected a pay freeze– equivalent to a 11 per cent real-terms pay cut once (RPI) inflation is taken into account.  

A meeting between the unions and the permanent secretary of the department for infrastructure confirmed the primary problem is the austerity budget imposed by secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “To attempt to impose a pay freeze is sickening in what is the worst cost of living crisis for workers in decades. “In taking strike action, our members can be confident of the full and continuing support of Unite. 


All-island teacher solidarity with striking members in Northern Ireland

Members of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) in Northern Ireland are today taking strike action as part of their long-running campaign for fair pay.

We commend all of our colleagues in Northern Ireland who are taking a stand outside their schools.

Expressing their full solidarity and support with members in the north, members in the south have today shared messages of support with their colleagues – demonstrating that the INTO is truly an all-island union.

This strike is about more than just pay.

It is about fighting for the future of the education system in Northern Ireland. Our members are committed to providing the best possible education for all children, but they cannot do that if they are not paid fairly and provided with the appropriate resources.

We urge the government and employers to listen to our members’ concerns and to come to the table with a fair offer.

Until they do, we will continue to support our members in their fight for much needed salary increases.

ICTU statement on violent events in Dublin

ICTU statement on violent events in Dublin

We want to express our solidarity with the children and care worker viciously attacked in Parnell Square yesterday afternoon. Our thoughts are with them and their families at this traumatic time and we sincerely hope they all recover from this awful event. We also express our solidarity with the school concerned and all its staff, pupils and families.

General Secretary Owen Reidy said ‘We condemn in the strongest terms the unacceptable and outrageous thuggery witnessed on the streets of our capital city last night. We pay tribute to our wonderful Garda, firefighters, ambulance personnel, local authority workers and our transport workers in how they have responded. They are an example of public service. No worker should be in harm’s way when called to work and last night they clearly were.

We condemn the looting and vandalism and are conscious that this behaviour from violent thugs has the potential to damage business and leave some workers in the retail and hospitality sectors in the city centre laid off or possibly losing their livelihoods. This is unacceptable. We are calling on workers working in the city centre on Monday 27th November at 1 pm to assemble at the GPO to show their solidarity with all the people of the capital and to clearly denounce this violence and riotous behaviour in a solemn and respectful way.

We would encourage and ask the employers in the city centre to facilitate their employees demonstrating this act of solidarity during their lunch break where possible.
The scenes of violence in our capital were displayed right throughout the world and has done significant damage. We condemn the far right and racist-infused mindless and wanton violence and must say that this does not represent us as workers or as a country’.

International – WFTU condemnation statement on the new occupational crime in India

The World Federation of Trade Unions, on behalf of its 105 million workers in the 5 continents, strongly condemns the new employer’s crime that took place in India after a crane collapsed at the site of an under-construction bridge in Shahapur.

The new fatal occupational crime took place on Monday night about 70 km north of Mumbai city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra and resulted in 17 dead workers and 3 injured.

We express our sincere and cordial solidarity with the relatives and colleagues of the workers who lost their lives. The international class-oriented trade union demands the unconditional and immediate implementation of adequate health and safety measures in all workplaces.

No more blood for the sake of profit.


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.