Press Release from No 2CrokePark2

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Economy

Unions Must Oppose Draconian Legislation and Defend Trade Union Rights

ICTU Must Condemn The Finance Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill

Protest at Dail Eireann on Wed at 5pm.

In a statement today the NO2CrokePark2 Campaign called on all trade unionists to oppose The Finance Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill. The Bill, which is being rushed through the Dail and Seanad this week, is a fundamental attack on trade union rights and is being used to bully trade union members into accepting the Haddington Road Agreement.

The Campaign is calling on all those concerned about trade union and democratic rights to protest at the Dail next Wednesday at 5pm.

The Finance Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill is a serious threat to trade union and democratic rights. The bill, if passed, will cut wages and pensions. It also gives government power to unilaterally freeze increments and to change conditions of service including working hours in the public service.

It contains a coercive clause which threatens to freeze the increments due to workers in the public sector unless they sign up to the Haddington Road Agreement. It contains a provision “for a suspension of incremental progression for three years for all public servants unless they are covered by a collective agreement that modifies the terms of the incremental suspension and which has been registered with the Labour Relations Commission”. This means that unless a trade union signs up to the agreement, even if the pay of members is under €65,000, its members increments will be frozen for three years. This is a draconian measure far beyond anything contained in the original Croke Park2 proposals.

As stated by IFUT General Secretary this morning this is the first time that “the pay of a public servant is to be decided not by grade or position but by the particular union of which the person is a member.” In effect this Bill discriminates against those unions who decide to take a stand against cuts and austerity.

Campaign spokesperson Eddie Conlon said,

“The fundamental right of workers to vote on any proposal on the basis of its merit is being undermined completely. The right of a trade union to defend its members is being obliterated. A gun is being put to the head of public sector workers.

At present the government is attempting to intimidate workers into accepting the Haddington Road Agreement. This legislation changes the landscape in Ireland. It is remarkable that the leadership of the ICTU has been absolutely silent on the implications of the Bill. It is even more remarkable that the Bill is being introduced with the support of the Labour Party. We are calling on ICTU to immediately condemn the legislation and for Labour TDs to vote against it.

We believe it must be opposed by all trade unions and by everyone that cares for democratic principles. We are, therefore, issuing an open call to all trade union leaders and to TDs to immediately condemn the proposed legislation. To not do so is to stand against democracy and worker’s rights”.