At a CPSU consultative conference in July, delegate after delegate raised their continued opposition to the Croke Park deal. There was also major criticism of the role played by Blair Horan, CPSU General Secretary and the assertions in the media that the CPSU now supported the Croke Park deal.
While their was an angry mood, there was also a balanced discussion about what the CPSU could do on its own and what type of tactics we now need to adopt.
This conference followed a meeting of the Executive in June at which, on the recommendation of Blair Horan, the Executive narrowly voted to suspend the industrial action. This decision was also heavily criticised at the conference as it seemed to send out the signal that we were no longer opposed to Croke Park.
The Executive overwhelmingly passed a motion (against the advice of Blair Horan), to write to all other unions who opposed this deal and see if there is a basis to work together to continue the campaign against the Croke Park deal. The General Secretary was meant to issue a press statement about this initiative – no statement was ever released.
The Executive also agreed to ballot the members on the Croke Park deal again in September, however at the August meeting, it was decided to keep the timing of the ballot under review as the current situation is volatile. In the context of the ongoing banking crisis, there has been speculation in the media that the government may walk away from the Croke Park deal.
What has been happening in the CPSU is no different to what has been happening in the other unions. Many General Secretaries publically voiced opposition to the Croke Park deal yet they are the same General Secretaries who agreed to it at the negotiations. This doublespeak has been shown up by their current position – that union members have no choice but to accept the deal as it is apparently the only show in town!
CPSU members should continue to oppose the Croke Park deal. This is still the same agreement we rejected once because it is going to result in 20,000 job losses and an historic attack on our terms and conditions and public services.
The CPSU has not signed up to the Croke Park deal and it should continue to pursue an alliance with other “No unions”, and those unions like Unite, the TEEU and the INMO whose members rejected the deal in their respective ballots.
The implementation of the government’s agenda has the potential to spark off opposition and industrial action by public sector workers. We have already seen the beginning of a backlash on a small scale in parts of the health service and in education.
In this context the CPSU and other “No unions” can play an important role in creating space for public sector workers, (even those who are in unions who leaders are going along with the government’s agenda), to take industrial action to stop the implementation of Croke Park in the workplace.