NIPSA Conference: Bureaucratic manoeuvres bins motions on war and cost of living 

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance(NIPSA)’s annual conference began today. While delegates and members will want the union to discuss the key issues facing public sector workers it seems the right-wing controlled general council are more interested in bureaucratic manoeuvres. Several motions have been ruled ‘out of order’ by the vice-president and despite a majority of delegates voting to discuss such motions, they didn’t get over two-thirds required to overturn this undemocratic decision. 

We reprint here two motions submitted to the conference by a member of the Socialist Party. While there are several motions on Ukraine, including by the General Council, they don’t commit the union to seriously supporting the building of an anti-war movement and importantly show solidarity with Russian anti-war activists facing prison sentences such as socialist activists Dzhavid Mamedov.

Most strikingly, the motion on the cost of living outlines clear points necessary for developing a fighting strategy to address this crucial issue facing all working-class people. NIPSA’s general council’s refusal to even discuss it is a continuation of the complete abdication of responsibility we have seen from the majority of trade union leaders over the course of this crisis. They have failed time and again to develop any sort of strategy to defend the interest of working class people except ‘lobbying’ politicians. This is a completely insufficient response to what for many workers and their families is already a cost of survival crisis. This is particularly the case given the Assembly currently is not meeting due to the sectarian impasse and these same politicians have for years been implementing attacks and pay freezes on workers including NIPSA members. While workers have shown a willingness to fight this hasn’t been mirrored. Socialist Party members in NIPSA and other unions will continue to argue for a fighting strategy in the face of the cost of living crisis as outlined in the motion below. If you are interested in discussing with Socialist Party activists how we build that fightback.

  1. Motion on cost of living

Conference recognises that our members and working-class people are facing the worse cost of living crisis in a generation with high levels of inflation, particularly in the cost of food and energy prices. A more apt description is that we are experiencing a “cost of survival crisis”. Conference believes it is essential that NIPSA and the wider trade union movement responds to this immediately. The General Council have been notable by their silence and failure to act on the issue. They must do more and work with the trade union movement on delivering action and returning the union to its campaigning principles. 

Conference therefore 

-Calls on NIC-ICTU to organise and seriously build for large demonstration on 18th June to coincide with demonstration called by TUC 

-That NIPSA and its general council should actively support in whatever way necessary ALL workers taking action for real pay rises and should seek to coordinate industrial action. 

-That NIPSA should produce leaflets and other material explaining the reason for inflation and responding to the propaganda that workers wage rises cause inflation. 

-Calls for the nationalisation of the profiteering energy companies, under democratic workers’ control so that prices can be controlled and to allow a just transition to green renewable energy.

  1. Motion on war on Ukraine

Conference condemns the brutal invasion of Ukraine by the Putin regime and believes that Ukrainian people have the right to decide their own future, including the right to self-determination of minorities. We recognise this is part of a new “cold war” and oppose those governments in the west who wish to escalate this conflict including by the expansion of NATO and increasing military spending by governments complicit in similar military occupations across the world. Conference recognises that working class people on all sides will be forced to pay the price for the war in Ukraine, the broader “cold war” which is developing and that the trade union movement must build workers’ unity against the war. 

Conference therefore 

-Demands the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine and also the withdrawal of NATO forces from Eastern Europe 

-Sends our solidarity to the Ukrainian workers who have every right to resist war and occupation 

-Sends our solidarity to those in the anti-war movement in Russia, who have faced massive repression 

-Supports the building of a new global anti-war movement which can link up workers and young people against war and the barbarism of the capitalist system

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