NIPSA Conference: Elections see shift to the left

THE RECENT annual conference of the largest trade union in Northern Ireland, NIPSA, has delivered a significant change in the make up of the union’s elected leadership. All the key positions in the union including President, Vice President and Treasurer have been won by left wing candidates. For the first time in its history, the important Civil Service Group Executive which deals with terms and conditions for Northern Ireland’s civil servants has an elected left wing majority.

In a crushing rejection of the failed strategy of the right wing over the last year, conference delegates returned 15 left candidates to the 25 person Civil Service Executive. These votes for the left reflect deep concern at the lack of progress on issues such as equal pay and privatisation and, as stated repeatedly by conference delegates, the lack of information between the old secretive Civil Service Executive and members on the ground.

NIPSA’s new left leadership has inherited problems that will be challenging. Issues like equal pay have been the subject of secret negotiation for over a year and the role of the right wing in those negotiations has made things more difficult. 

The left will have to work with the members to overcome this “legacy” and the resistance to struggle from the unelected NIPSA officials. Significant steps can be taken by the Left to redevelop the fighting capacity of the union. Everyone in NIPSA will be watching.

Padraig Mulholland, NIPSA General Council member (personal capacity) 23 June 09
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