Dáil bill represents attack on fundamental workers’ rights

So called “Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill” an attack on fundamental workers’ rights that has to be fought by the trade union movement.

Explaining his decision to vote against the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill which Minister Howlin introduced as a big stick for the unions whose memberships reject the Haddington Road sell out Joe Higgins TD said:

This bill essentially affords the government as an employer an amount of power over certain public sector employees that no other employer enjoys in law. It is a throwback to the days of William Martin Murphy.

Regardless of the rotten ‘yes’ stand of some union leaders with regard to the Haddington Road Agreement it is a scandal that they and ICTU are either silent on the passing of this oppressive legislation or worse that they use it as a means of scaring their members to voting ‘yes’ to this re-hash of Croke Park 2.

I support the efforts of the No 2 Croke Park 2 campaign in helping co-ordinate the rank and file opposition to this pay deal and to this draconian bill that has been rushed through the Dáil.

While the government have the numbers in the Dáil to force this law through the workers’ movement has the numbers and potential to successfully resist the enforcement of these cuts if a determined struggle is waged.

The rejection of Haddington Road by ASTI, TUI and CPSU executives is welcome. The fact that the leaderships of other unions are recommending acceptance of this deal does not mean that its passing is inevitable as the rejection by SIPTU members of Croke Park 2 shows us.

The scale of tax evasion by the rich corporations has been laid bare in recent weeks. It’s a scale of evasion that dwarfs the cuts in pay and the property tax combined. A serious struggle by the trade union movement to resist austerity in all its forms and campaign for the proper taxation of unearned wealth would win widespread support. Most of the current trade union leaders are tied to the Labour Party and are therefore objectively in the pro-austerity camp.

Those trade union members and activists opposing Croke Park and Haddington Road have to continue their campaign beyond these ballots to democratically unseat these leaders and replace them with genuine activists who will draw a line under the succession of retreats we have seen from the trade union movement since the crisis began and make a stand against austerity.