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 […]

A Trade Union Strategy to Win for Working People

Speech at the Mother Jones Festival, Cork by SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, on Thursday, 28th July, 2016 Comrades and friends, This year’s Mother Jones Festival takes place against the background of the continuing trauma of the most serious crisis in global capitalism since the 1930s. It is important to say from the outset that this is a demand side crisis largely attributable to exponentially growing inequality in what we know as the “developed world”. The phenomenon manifests itself in the world of work or the “labour market” in the form of mass unemployment, increasing precariousness and social insecurity on […]

What is workers’ education? – Stevie Nolan

Our answer to the question “What is the purpose of workers’ education?” is of course dependent on the broader question of “What is the purpose of trade unions?” Are unions a collective defence of interests aimed at advancing the terms and conditions of members (and only members), or are they a means of challenging capitalism and providing a political vehicle for advancing towards socialism? Is it reform or revolution? In Ireland the answer has always been fairly clear. We have never seen ourselves as being in a struggle against capital; we rarely even use the language of “capital” and “labour,” […]

The strike is the key to union renewal and working class power

Reviving the strike – How working people can regain power and transform America By Joe Burns Available on pdf at http://www.tuleftforum.com/discussion-papers/ and for purchase at http://www.revivingthestrike.org/ Striking to stop production This is a must-read book for trade unionists and left activists. Though it deals mainly with the American labour movement and conditions there, its main points and recommendations easily apply in Ireland. The author, Joe Burns, is a union lawyer, negotiator and activist for many decades, most recently involved in the airline industry and health services. He is adamant that the movement needs to return to the strike as the […]

Class-consciousness is increasing

The Right2Water campaign and communities from all over the country last week held their third massive national mobilisation within a few months, and the message was clear: people won’t be bullied or bribed, and they see through government lies and propaganda. The recent retreat by the government is not enough, and is not accepted by the people. The government has lost the Irish Water issue and has no popular mandate. The view of hundreds of thousands of people and families is irrefutable; the government does not have our support to govern. Last week’s protest followed an intensification of violence, supervision […]

An independent political programme for the trade union movement and for workers

Where is the ambition? Jack O’Connor has said on a number of occasions that the “left” lacks ambition and courage. This is certainly true of the official trade union movement. It lacks ambition, courage, and vision. The movement has failed to articulate its own vision of society and how we might get there. It has failed to present consistently to its members and to workers generally the necessary short-term reforms and the medium to long-term transitional policies that will bring about socialism—a society by, for and of working people. And why is that? Many reasons, including the legacy of “partnership,” […]

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 […]

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 […]

Struggle and conflict will rebuild the movement

The TULF is committed to building a fighting trade union movement capable of enhancing the lives of union members and pushing for a better and more equitable society for working class. This will only be achieved when the movement takes on a number of principles based on the reality of class struggle today. There are now examples from across the globe of Unions that are growing and winning on the basis of militancy and class solidarity. The Unions engaged in this kind of struggle are getting gains for their members and the communities they serve, and workers are responding to […]

Workers win with their unions