Trade Union Left Forum. Launch Fair Employment Act

An act to restore the cost of living and civil society remits of trade unions, to legislate for a trade union right to access to members and workers in the workplace, to legislate for trade union right to be heard in negotiations on behalf of members where collective bargaining is recognised,  and related maters.

Be it enacted by the Oireachtas as follows:



Interview about The Industrial Relations Act and why it should be abolished.

This interview took place on Thursday 26th May with the Irish Language Station Raidió na Life with a Unite The Union activist. Click on this link

MLSA Industrial Action Enters Second Week

Issued by the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association (MLSA)
Industrial Action Week 2
Monday May 23, 2022.
Medical Scientists to Step Up Industrial Action
Two days of Action to be taken by Medical Scientists this week
Medical Scientists to continue on picket lines to resolve – unfilled posts, pay parity, career
pathway and increasing demands. Medical Scientists are stepping up their industrial action this week – in frustration over long-standing
pay and career development issues. Two days of action are taking place on Tuesday May 24 and Wednesday May 25, following an initial
one day of action last week. No approach has been made by the HSE or Department of Health to the MLSA since last week’s
stoppage, despite comments from HSE representatives implying talks were ongoing.
The action will again involve the withdrawal of routine laboratory services from 8am to 8pm on both
days, affecting routine hospital and GP services across the country.

The Union representing Medical Scientists – the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association (MLSA) –
said it has made every effort to avoid regrettable disruption to patients and fellow healthcare workers
but has been left with no alternative.
MLSA has 2,100 members and the vast majority will be on picket lines this week, at all public
voluntary and HSE hospitals and the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, which will join the pickets for the
first time. If no progress is made a further three days of action are planned for next week on May 31st
June 1st  and June 2nd.

In a ballot of MLSA members last November 98% had voted in favour of taking the
action. The action follows many rounds of unsuccessful talks with the HSE, Department of Health,
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Service Agreement Group, particularly
during the past two years.

Reasons for the Action
MLSA Chairperson Kevin O’Boyle said Medical Scientists did not want to be stepping up the action
but severe problems and burn out in the sector are being ignored by the HSE and Department of
Health – and these must be addressed.
Mr O’Boyle said the issues causing the staffing crisis in the sector are:
• Medical Scientists carry out identical work to other colleagues in hospital laboratories (Clinical
Biochemists),yet are paid on average 8% less.
• Medical Laboratory Aides who report to Medical Scientists start on a higher salary.
• Medical Scientists have fewer career progression opportunities, less training supports and
less continuous education supports than comparable colleagues.
• Against these increasing shortages, the role for laboratory diagnostics within the health
services is expanding with increasing.
“All of these issues are leading to a recruitment and retention crisis. 20% of approved hospital posts
are unfilled and it is not sustainable to continue like this. We need an effective structure for this
profession which can secure the staff needed to do the work that is required. Resolving these
issues will benefit patients and the health services they receive.”
MLSA General Secretary Terry Casey said the Union is this week continuing to seek meaningful talks
with the HSE and Department of Health.

“Since last week’s action neither the HSE nor the Department of Health have come to us with a
meaningful proposal or invitation to talks that could address the issues involved. It because of this that
Members throughout the country are stepping up the action.
“The MLSA’s claim for parity with clinical biochemist colleagues dates back to 2001 when an Expert
Group Report recommended pay parity between the grades. The then awarded pay parity was lost
within months as a result of procedural error in the public service benchmarking awards in June

“In January 2020, against a backdrop of a severe and worsening staffing crisis, the MLSA renewed
this longstanding claim for parity of pay and career progression. More than two years on, and after
many rounds of proposals and talks, these issues have not been resolved and there is now an even
more significant shortage of Medical Scientists, affecting all regions of the country.”
Medical Laboratory Scientists Association (MLSA)
The MLSA is the Trade Union representing Medical Scientists, the scientific professionals who carry
out critical diagnostic testing of patient samples. It represents more than 2,100 Medical Scientists
employed in public voluntary hospitals, HSE hospitals, private hospitals and the Irish Blood
Transfusion Service.

Trade Union Left Forum 20/05/2022 Statement:

At the last Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) biennial delegate conference on 26/9/21 a motion proposed
by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) was unanimously passed calling for legislation to be enacted to
return all rights lost by workers as result of restrictions imposed under the 1990 industrial relations act. Since
then, very little has happened to progress this legislation.

The Trade Left Forum (TULF) have stepped up to this challenge to draft a bill for legislation that would repair
some of the damage done by years of anti-Union legislation in Ireland.

TULF have now drafted a bill entitled the "Fair Employment Act 2022" and will launch it on Thursday June 2nd
in Unite the Union’s Hall in middle Abbey Street Dublin at 6 p.m. There will be a power point presentation of
the draft bill and an outline of the effects of existing anti-union legislation on workers.This will be followed by Q & A.

The bill covers the right to union access to workers, collective bargaining rights, removes obligatory 7-day
strike notice, returns union autonomy on secret ballots, protects the rights of individual workers, expands the
reasons for industrial action beyond trade disputes to the aims of the Ictu.

Motion passed at congress:

“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 individual workers, for issues that concern workers across society and across
employers, and for effective solidarity to workers in dispute.

The TULF are calling for the ICTU. to launch a national campaign, in conjunction with affiliated unions
and trades councils, to seek the support of the Government, political parties, Dáil deputies, senators,
local authorities and wider society to amend existing legislation and to introduce the Fair Employment
Bill 2022, which will be the first step to starting the process to tip the balance of power back to

Jimmy Doran
Tulf Chair/PRO

Index News


Slow pace of social dialogue undermining cost-of-living crisis response

The absence of agreement between unions, Government and employer representatives on practical measures to expand the range of free and affordable public services is undermining the national response to Ireland’s cost of living crisis, according to Fórsa.

Speaking at the 80,000-strong union’s national conference in Killarney today (Thursday), Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan said Ireland should resist a return to the “poor quality” social dialogue in place prior to the pandemic, during which more intense engagements shaped and delivered workplace safety protocols and emergency income supports.

He called for intensified dialogue to improve Ireland’s ‘social wage,’ or state spending on welfare supports and public services. He also called for the national minimum wage to be increased to the rate of the higher living wage.

The lack of an adequate social wage was placing all the emphasis on pay as a means of protecting living standards.


“We are at a crossroads. The cost-of-living crisis demands more than a talking shop if living standards are to be protected. With the World Bank predicting that energy and commodity prices will remain ‘historically high’ until 2024, the value of Irish social dialogue will be measured by outcomes, not the number of meetings scheduled.

“Workers in countries across the continent are paying more for heating, fuel and food. But in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and most other rich EU nations, workers don’t have to fret about the cost of childcare, an unavoidable visit to the GP or A&E, eldercare fees, or even the rent – because these things are free or affordable through a public service-delivered social wage,” he said.

Kevin said the lack of an adequate social wage was placing all the emphasis on pay as a means of protecting living standards.

Moving a motion from the union’s National Executive, which placed the “restoration and improvement of living standards above all other issues in the current round of pay bargaining in the public service and elsewhere,” Mr Callinan said Fórsa would pursue this with a “single-minded determination.”

He said he didn’t underestimate the scale of the challenge in the run-up to imminent public service pay talks. But he added that there was now a solid basis for substantial negotiations as the employers’ side had acknowledged that the inflation assumptions underpinning Building Momentum have changed significantly.

“Workers, their families, and their communities are the victims of inflation, not the cause of inflation. I have made it clear that there needs to be an improvement in the agreement’s pay terms this year,” he said.

In a formal meeting last Wednesday (11th May), Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) negotiators also accepted that a change to the current agreement’s pay terms would be discussed in substantive talks, and also wanted to achieve some certainty about next year’s public service pay bill before October’s Budget.

Kevin acknowledged that the current Government had established a Social Dialogue Unit in the Department of the Taoiseach, and that the Labour Employer Economic Forum – the country’s primary forum for high-level social dialogue – had been elevated with the Taoiseach himself chairing each of the quarterly plenary meetings.

There is now a chance to commence the process of transformational change.


“I have long been calling for quick and meaningful action on the social wage, which measures how much better off you are because of Government spending on welfare supports and public services. In Ireland it is very low by comparison to other modern European countries.

“Part of the reason is the relatively low rate of employer PRSI. But it’s also because of long-term failure to properly resource public services. Sometimes ideology gets in the way, like marketized childcare, privatised care of older people or two-tier healthcare.

“These things won’t be rectified overnight. But there is now a chance to commence the process of transformational change. But we need to start the job with urgency and rigour, and achieve early and tangible results, because Ireland’s low social wage is feeding directly into today’s cost of living crisis.

“Let’s be very clear – if this opportunity is spurned or squandered then the blame for declining living standards will rest squarely on the shoulders of this Government,” he said.

Kevin also called for stronger collective bargaining rights to improve wages and productivity and underpin better outcomes for society and the economy.

“Ireland is out of step with European levels of collective bargaining coverage and he last 40 years have seen a huge shift in the balance between capital and labour. Globalisation has ensured that the proportion of wealth going to an elite has reached obscene levels – often of a magnitude beyond normal comprehension. The only way that this will be arrested and reversed is if we build workers’ power,” he said.

Fórsa is Ireland’s largest public service union with over 80,000 members in health, education, local government, the civil service and other State agencies. The union also has members in the community organisations and private sector companies in aviation, communication and elsewhere. Up to 700 delegates are attending its national conference in Killarney, County Kerry, its first fully in-person conference since 2018, continues until Friday 20th May at the INEC in Killarney.

SIPTU members brief Joint Oireachtas Committee on threat to community schemes

SIPTU members attended a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands on Wednesday (11th May) to brief it on the growing threat to the operation of community schemes across the country.

Rural Social Scheme (RSS) supervisor and member of the SIPTU RSS National Committee, Liz MacDonald, told the Committee that the programmes she operates provide financial support to low-income farmers and fishermen in return for them providing 19.5 hours of work each week supporting services in their local communities. 

She said: “The work carried out by RSS is far reaching and includes tidy town projects, maintenance of community centres, sporting facilities, churches, cemeteries and Meals on Wheels. The range of projects supported also extends from research, cultural and heritage projects, such as graveyard mapping and historical book writing to retail support in charity shops. Furthermore, RSS participants play a key role in promoting and preserving biodiversity through cultivating and maintaining parks, walkways and woodlands.”

McDonald called for an increase to the payment received by participants to reflect the quality work carried out and to lessen the impact of the cost of living crisis. The need for the Government to live up to its commitment to establish a forum to discuss the issues facing the community sector was also highlighted.

Tús (community work placement scheme) Scheme Supervisor, Martin Corcoran, said: “Workers in this sector are very proud of what they do. However, it is important that we have an ongoing dialogue between all the stakeholders to ensure the provision of services to the community and participants.” 

SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “I welcome the unanimous recognition and support from members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for the critical work that our members in RSS and Tús perform across the country. It is time for Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, to engage with workers’ representatives across the community sector to address the very serious industrial relations issues which they are facing.”

XVIII Congress of WFTU: Rome declaration

We publish today the “Rome Declaration” which was adopted by the 18th World Trade Union Congress on May 8th, 2022 in Rome, Italy, and constitutes the main guidelines of the WFTU for the next 5 years.


WFTU statement on the 74th anniversary of Nakba Day

The international class-oriented trade union movement commemorates the 74th anniversary of Nakba Day and the killing of 15.000 Palestinians on May 15, 1948, and the displacement of 750.000 others during that period, by the state of Israel.  The World Federation of Trade Unions on behalf of its 105 million workers who work, live, and struggle in 133 countries on the 5 continents firmly stands on the side of the heroic Palestinian people and strongly condemns the constant crime of the Israeli occupation and its barbaric consequences.

We denounce the hypocrisy and the dirty role of the USA, EU, and NATO who declare an equal distance policy among the victim and the perpetrators, while supporting the Israeli state with all means and waging plans for the perpetuation and intensification of occupation.  We congratulate the class-oriented trade unions for their undivided solidarity with Palestine and their contribution to the WFTU solidarity campaign for the material support of the Palestinian people.

The WFTU, based on its founding principles and the decisions and resolutions of the 18th Congress, reiterates its unconditional solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine and intensifies its struggle for the recognition of the independent Palestinian state in the borders of 1967, with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital. We fully support the inalienable right of the Palestinian refugees to return to Palestine and we demand the liberation of all Palestinian political prisoners.

AIB need to restore the 35 hour week.

The Financial Services Union (FSU) have launched a campaign to restore the 35-hour working week in AIB. The Union state that during the years of austerity the working week in AIB was extended from 35 hours to 37 hours.


Speaking at the Triennial Conference of the FSU, Billy Barrett, Senior Industrial Relations Officer with responsibility for members in AIB commented:

“In a judgment a couple of years ago the Labour Court stated that “employees who cooperated with adjustments to pay and conditions of employment during the crisis are entitled to have those progressively reversed as circumstances improve

“AIB has reported profits of €274 million in the first half of 2021 and its CEO, Colin Hunt is on the record as stating that the economic outlook for the Bank is positive.

It is time that staff share in the upturn in the Banks fortunes.

It is also a case of fairness and equality in the workplace. At present if you work in Bank of Ireland, you work a 35-hour week. Any staff member who will transfer in the future from Ulster Bank to AIB will remain on their current 35-hour week contract.

This means that staff will be working side by side with some on a 35-hour week and some on a 37-hour week.

The FSU surveyed our members on this issue and the support for the campaign was clear and unambiguous.

As a first phase of the campaign, we have launched a petition of our members seeking their support.

It is time for AIB to reverse the decision to increase the working week from 35 hours to 37 hours, recognise the work done by members in returning the Bank to profitability and restore the 35-hour week as is common in other Banks.”


Trade Union Left Forum. May Day Statement:

Trade Union Left Forum  

Mayday Statement:

Trade union left forum wish to extend our solidarity greetings to workers their families unions and communities in Ireland and beyond on this International Workers Day.

We take this opportunity to announce that the TULF have completed drafting a bill for legislation to replace many of the workers’ rights lost as a result of decades of anti-worker legislation dating back to the 1940s. The TULF  have been campaigning for the last 4 years against anti-worker legislation, many unions along with the next generation of workers in the form of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have adopted policies against anti-union legislation particularly the 1990 industrial relations act. 

At the recent biennial delegates conference of the Irish Congress of trade unions (ICTU) the Dublin council of trade unions (DCTU) moved a motion calling for legislation to restore workers’ rights lost as a result of the 1990 industrial relations act. This motion was unanimously passed by all the delegates and is now the policy of the Ictu. 

Since then, there has been done to advance this motion by the Ictu or any of the affiliated unions despite it’s overwhelming support.

The TULF will not let this very necessary motion gather dust on a shelf in the ICTU head office. We have stepped into the void and done what the Ictu and or the affiliated unions should have been doing since the Congress in October. We have drafted the necessary legislation and this will be launched on the 2nd of June at 6 p.m. at the Unite the Union Hall in middle Abbey Street Dublin.

The Trade Union Left Forum by launching this bill is calling for the ICTU to begin a national campaign in conjunction with all affiliated trade unions and trades councils to seek the support of government, political parties, Dáil deputies, local authorities and wider society to amend  the existing legislation and introduce the Fair Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022 as drafted by the Tulf, which will be the first step to start the process to tip the balance of power back to workers in Ireland and in line with policy as adopted unanimously at congress.

Trade Unions must be Radical or they will become Redundant.

Up the Workers