Responding to the recent vote by CPSU delegates at their Annual Delegate Conference in Athlone to refuse to back the Croke Park deal which they voted against in huge numbers last year Clare Daly TD, Socialist Party/ULA, Dublin North said:
“The Croke Park agreement was a rotten deal for public services workers forcing them to swallow whole the pension levy and attacks on conditions won over decades. Similarly the deal allowed for the cutting back of vital public services. For that reason was decisively rejected by members of ASTI, TUI, IFUT, CPSU, UNITE and TEEU. Likewise it was rejected by members of the PNA, GRA and PDFORRA whose opposition did not count in the ICTU delegate meeting which passed the deal because they are not affiliates.
“On the back of a negative campaign based on sowing fear and demoralisation among its members threatening that by rejecting the deal they would suffer worse cuts the leaderships of SIPTU, IMPACT, INTO and PSEU obtained a majority yes votes for the Croke Park deal.
“Trade Union members were told that by accepting the Croke Park deal their pay would be safeguarded. However we since have had the imposition of the Universal Social Charge. Likewise the threat by Kieran Mulvey, head of the Labour Relations Commission that public servants could be made work longer hours as part of the implementation of Croke Park.
“This taken together with the threats to annual leave entitlements and the abolition of bank time (equivalent of a cut of 1.6%) all amount to major threats to the rate of pay.
“On the basis of the majority delegate vote at the ICTU meeting convened to accept the Croke Park deal the leaderships of a number of unions whose members had rejected the deal, instead of forming an alliance of unions to resist its implementation as we advocated, have led their members into accepting the deal.
“Blair Horan, General Secretary of the CPSU, which represents the lowest paid of the Civil and Public servants attempted to do this at the union’s recent Annual Delegate Conference but met with decisive resistance from within the union’s executive and from the conference floor.
“I salute the courageous stance taken by CPSU activists in their commitment to build for strike action if and when further cuts are imposed as has been indicated by Minister Howlin.”
Joe Higgins TD, Socialist Party/ULA Dublin West added:
“Only five weeks in government and Ministers Howlin and Rabbitte have demonstrated in practise that working people including rank and file members of the public service union can expect no protection from Labour from further austerity.
“Anybody unfamiliar with the personalities in Irish politics reading the statements of these two ministers could not deduce that they come from a different political outlook from their Fine Gael colleagues.
“The stand taken by the CPSU members should serve as an inspiration to workers in other unions who have been badly misled by their General Secretaries into accepting this deal, which, bad and all as it is has effectively been broken by the employer.
“The CPSU activists must now run a campaign among the ordinary members to prepare themselves for the assault that has clearly been indicated by Minister Howlin and likewise forge links with activists in other unions so that an alternative fighting strategy can be built across the movement.”