Peter McLoone, the disgraced General Secretary of IMPACT will retire from his position in May. McLoone’s replacement, chosen by IMPACT’s central executive committee, is Shay Cody.
As Shay Cody has served as the Deputy General Secretary since 1997, this would indicate that it will be “business as usual” in the leadership of IMPACT. Shay Cody’s wage as general secretary is over €170,000 a year!
The selection process for this senior trade union position gives a clear indication of what is wrong at the heart of the trade union movement. There is a fundamental democratic deficit in this process, where people are appointed to powerful positions within the union with no input whatsoever from the membership.
To address this issue, members of the Dublin City Branch put forward motions to their AGM calling for the election of IMPACT full time officials. However the motions were ruled out of order as they supposedly contravene the union rules.
It is completely undemocratic that members of a trade union cannot discuss and debate the processes involved in the appointment of their employees, or discuss and debate the wages they are paid.
The Socialist Party believes that trade union full time officials should be elected, subject to recall by the membership and paid the average wage of the members they represent. This is essential if trade union officials are to be democratically accountable. Full time officials must also have lifestyles comparable to the workers they are representing. Clearly it is impossible for a trade union official on over €170,000 to have any real understanding of the problems facing low and middle income IMPACT members.
Members of IMPACT who want real change within their union should come together to organise an opposition to the pro-social partnership and ineffectual leadership that dominates the union and campaign to get the union rules changed to make the full time officials accountable.