Social Partnership Zombie?


Well-known member
Apr 11, 2007
If the public sector indulge in a wave of industrial actions as predicted, some like former Taoiseach "I am a socialist" Bertie Ahern will call for a revival of social partnership. In the economically depressed 1980s, social partnership supposedly helped restore industrial peace to militant, heavily unionised and strike prone workforces in both the private and public sectors, stemming high unemployment.However, similar UK labour unrest of the late 1970s and early 1980s was ended largely by massive unemployment,including the shutdown of large swathes of redundant manufacturing.

Reviving social partnership would give disproportionately large representation to the still heavily unionised, overmighty public sector workforces given that private sector workforces are now a lightly unionised small minority. That would be undemocratic and in any event, union members don't elect union officials as TDs to represent them in government.

Social partnership would introduce economic inefficiencies through one size fits all wage setting, with wages too high in some markets and possibly too low in others. That could lead to shortages of workers but in practice employers in the private sector likely would pay more than agreed nationally, resulting in an upwards bias in wages. That upwards bias in the deflationary eurozone could quickly lead to a spike in unemployment.

The first version of social partnership, known generally as corporatism, was introduced by fascist dictator Mussolini in Italy in the 1920s.Ever since, the association of corporatism with fascism has given it a bad name among democracies but Irish politicians don't seem to be aware of that. Let's hope they don't bring back the historic zombie.
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Well-known member
Sep 6, 2011
Here's a good idea! ! !

Why don't you start another agenda thread about the public sector? petunia

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