Socialist Party criticises SIPTU leadership for call to members to vote Labour

Responding to the e mail sent by SIPTU to its members recommending a vote for the Labour Party and a vague call for transfers to unnamed parties who support ‘social solidarity’ Joe Higgins, Socialist Party MEP and candidate for Dublin West said:

Regardless of President Jack O’Connor’s wish for what he sees as a ‘left government’ emerging of Labour and Sinn Fein there are two fundamental problems.

Firstly the Labour leadership are clearly intent on going into government with Fine Gael and they are both committed to further cuts and tax hikes loaded against the very people the unions should be representing. Deputy Gilmore’s criticisms of the EU/IMF deal cannot be taken seriously given his party’s commitment not to reverse the cuts of the outgoing government.

Secondly Labour have not supported workers in struggle. They are at best silent on the key industrial disputes that have taken place or pose themselves as neither on the side of workers or employers which is no position for a party that calls itself ‘Labour’ to take. Even worse, we have had Labour deputies like Sean Sherlock and Roisin Shorthall explicitly opposing strike action taken by public sector workers to defend their pay and conditions.

Cllr Clare Daly, SIPTU steward in Aer Lingus and candidate for Dublin North commented:

The trade union movement formed the Labour Party almost 100 years ago. Despite their occasional invocation of the names of James Connolly and Jim Larkin the reality is that Labour do not fight for the working class but instead their vision does not extend beyond carving up ministerial positions and managing crisis ridden capitalism. SIPTU’s financial and political support for Labour is a relic of a past age when Labour in a broad sense was a party of the working class.

The time is long overdue for this support to end and for the trade union movement to support candidates and parties that give unconditional support to workers in struggle like Larkin and whose politics corresponds with the revolutionary socialism of James Connolly. The Socialist Party and the United Left Alliance aspire to play that role in the next Dáil and in the workplaces where our members are active in their unions.