“The union leaders had no mandate from their memberships to offer up compulsory unpaid leave of 12 to 14 days on top of cutbacks in overtime and unsocial hours premia and allowances arising from legitimate out of pocket expenses and additional educational qualifications”.
Responding to the cancellation of tomorrow’s day of industrial action by the ICTU leadership and their promotion of a deal with the government based on enforcing unpaid leave on public sector workers Joe Higgins, Socialist Party MEP commented:
“The union leaders had no mandate from their memberships to offer up compulsory unpaid leave of 12 to 14 days on top of cutbacks in overtime and unsocial hours premia and allowances arising from legitimate out of pocket expenses and additional educational qualifications.
“These cutbacks will amount to further pay reductions of 5%+ on top of the so called pensions levy and employment levies in the last two budgets totalling reductions of 15%+ on core pay. What’s more the enforcement of unpaid leave will deprive the public of over 3 million days of public service staffing in 2010. The notion that such cutbacks will be temporary does not make sense in the context of the government seeking similar scale cutbacks for the next three years!
“Yet there are no concrete signs that there will be any equivalent demands made on those who benefit from unearned wealth in this country in the form of profit, dividends, rent, capital gains and inheritance! From these untaxed and under taxed sources the immediate breach in public finances could be met. Instead the rich will get off virtually unscathed.
“I say to rank and file members of the public service unions – do not accept this sell out and do not be deceived by the criticisms of IBEC, Fine Gael and the Independent Newapapers who are dissatisfied that the proposed cuts aren’t more severe and permanent. The complaints of elements of the employers, establishment politicians and media will undoubtedly be cynically used by the union leaders as cover for what is objectively a gross attack on pay and condidtions.
Organise to replace weak leadership with those who will seriously fight government policy.
“I salute the early initiatives being taken by rank and file trade unionists such as the Dublin Post Primary branch of the Teachers Union of Ireland and similar initiatives in the ranks of the INTO and SIPTU to campaign among their membership for both a vote against a sell out deal and I encourage activists in other unions to move quickly to replicate this important initiative. Such campaigns need to be linked with a strategy of democratically replacing those leaders who are still wedded to this disastrous strategy of social partnership with representatives who will seriously fight the Government policy of making working people pay for a crisis not of their making.”