A future worth fighting for – Workers Charter

  Dear friends and comrades, The Trade Union Left Forum is releasing a workers charter, an initiative to organise left trade unionists around a progressive workers rights programme. The charter, A future worth fighting for, emerged from a consultation with activists, supporters and friends throughout 2015 and 2016. Draft TULF Workers Charter And so on Thursday, October 5th at 6pm, we are hosting a discussion on the draft workers charter in Mandate Trade Union offices. You can check out our FB event https://www.facebook.com/events/1438700992914745 to register.  Workers deserve a society where our needs come first, before the interests of big business, exploitative employers […]

Debt, inequality, and industrial action: The chicken or the egg?

Trade unions remain the most tangible and most effective way to reduce inequality. Unionised work-places tend to have fairer, more transparent and more equitable pay models, which provide pay increases year by year for workers above inflation. They redistribute wealth from the surplus value created by workers that would otherwise go to profits (or dividends and executive pay) to workers’ wages. However, as unions have weakened, and union density throughout the economy has weakened, all workers have suffered. Low pay has become more prevalent, inequality has grown, and contracts have returned to the more “flexible” model of the nineteenth century. […]

Right to Access Bill for Unions

It is incredible that, in the 21st century, union officials can be physically blocked from meeting their members in the workplace, especially given the crucial role trade unions play in workers’ rights, pay and conditions. As we are seeing in the Tesco attack on long-serving staff, strengthening the legislative rights of trade unions is key to supporting workers in their defense and enhancement of decent jobs and decent work. Sinn Fein are introducing a Bill to try change this. The Right To Access Bill will enhance the ability of workers to organise into unions and win better working conditions.  The […]

Unlocking the potential of trade unions for working people

TULF submission to the Right2Water

Overcoming common misunderstandings about trade unions There are some common misunderstandings about unions that fall wide of the mark and lead to a lot of confusion; and some of this comes from within the movement itself and is given life by some unions’ language and actions. For example, a union is an insurance policy for workers when something goes wrong at work; it’s a professional representative body; it’s an interest group . . . These are all common answers to the question “What are trade unions?” but none are right. Trade unions are the collective and pooled effort and resources of working […]

Important outcome from Labour Court

The Labour Court has issued an important outcome for Freshway workers in a case taken by SIPTU under the new legislation. On the question of evidencing union membership Joe O’Flynn, General Secretary of SIPTU, swore an affidavit in advance of the hearing to the effect that 63 of 170 workers were union members. The Court viewed this, 37%, as ‘not insignificant’ and passing the first barrier. The Company argued that they collectively bargain with an internal staff consultation committee but the Court found that it wasn’t an excepted body and that the practice was not collective bargaining as defined by […]

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. […]

Real trade unionism in action – right2water

The type of class-conscious and politically active trade unionism that the Trade Union Left Forum has advocated at many of its meetings, and in its publications, is truly on display and being built in the Right2Water campaign. The 1st November saw the second national protest against the water charges and the potential privatisation of what should be a guaranteed, universally available public resource. It is estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 people took part. This follows the 100,000 who marched on 11th October as well as the daily militant class struggle being fought in communities throughout the country, led in […]

A new kind of trade unionism emerging

A new kind of trade unionism is emerging and consolidating itself within the right2water campaign, led by Mandate and Unite and supported by OPATSI, the CPSU, and the CWU. These unions are bringing the broader social and economic interests of their members to the fore and committing resources, time and effort to support mobilisation not only of members, but also the working class and communities more generally. By viewing their members as workers (as opposed to people paying a subscription for work-place representation services) these unions are placing the workers’ immediate social demands alongside, and equal to, their immediate work-place […]

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 […]

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 […]