This was final proof, if proof was needed, that the union leaders see themselves as nothing more than “partners” of the government and big business in the task of saving the capitalist market at all costs.
Not surprisingly, IBEC and big business welcomed the deal – why not? It’s based on taking money from the working class to fund their multi-billion bailout!
The deal includes:
- A five year pay freeze.
- A ban on strikes and industrial action relating to anything in the agreement.
- No guarantee of restoration of pay cuts and a get out clause for the government that if the economy gets worse, further pay cuts can be implemented.
- Pension levy remains.
- Up to 20,000 job losses as the moratorium on recruitment is maintained and An Bord Snip objectives are pursued.
- Ending of overtime payments and allowances for many with the implementation of an 8am to 8pm working day.
- A review of all pensions.
- Potential forced redeployment within 45 kms.
- Outsourcing to be implemented based on an evaluation process in which “cost” will be central determining factor.
- Potential for lower wages, pensions and working conditions in the future for all new recruits.
The deal includes a so-called industrial peace clause that prevents public sector workers taking industrial action in relation to any aspect of the government’s reform programme. This is in effect a ban on strikes when public sector workers jobs, wages and conditions will be subject to historic and detrimental change.
The union leaders are campaigning to sell this deal – but none of them have the audacity to claim it is a good deal. Shamefaced, they claim it is the best that can be achieved in the current economic climate on the day the banks got another bailout!
“The only alternative to the outcome of this particular process is to engage in a prolonged sustained and very high level, industrial relations war”. This was Tom Geraghty, ICTU public services committee secretary’s attempt at “scaring” public sector workers into accepting what is without question the worst sell out in Irish trade union history.
United action can defeat government
Tom Geraghty, like the rest of the ICTU leaders, is not prepared to fight. If the countries 300,000 public sector workers took part in a determined campaign of 24 hour and 48 hour national strikes, then this hated and despised government would crumble in no time at all. Their strategy of making public sector workers pay for the economic crisis would be utterly destroyed. Instead, the rich and big business could be made cough up the cash for their own mess.
Public sector workers have a stark choice – accept this deal which is going to detrimentally change your working conditions and quality of life forever or stand up and say no.
A no vote actually sends a strong message to all the political parties that public sector workers are not a pushover and will not stand for further attacks.
Become an advocate for a NO VOTE
If you are opposed to this deal, then you need to become an advocate of a no vote in your workplace and union. Demand that union branch meetings are held at which this agreement can be debated.
Contact the Socialist Party for leaflets that explain why public sector workers should vote no. Get organised – get together with others who oppose the deal in your workplace, department and union and discuss how you can best campaign to get a majority no vote.
The message from this debacle is clear – the unions need to be fundamentally reformed and we need a fighting leadership – contact the Socialist Party today at 01-6772592 to find out how we can work together to deliver a no vote and join with us in helping to build an alternative to the trade union leaders who concocted this rotten deal.