Time for a "Reclaim our Union" Movement ?

loaded32

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Feb 23, 2009
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I am not a Union member, although my father wasa shop-steward for over 25 years, but my place of employment do not support union membership.

In any case, after just reading the Letters to the Editor in today's Irish Times, I am extremely heartened to read so many letters that are in opposition to the ICTU leadership, David Begg and Jack O'Connor. After also hearing and reading that Begg and O'Connor were both heckled at the GPO on Saturday I am now hopeful that people, and union members in particular are finally coming to terms with the fact that the Union Leaders have been arm in arm with the government over the past decade and now have lofty salarys and sit semi-state boards in return for their "loyalty" to this government.

Both Begg and O'Connor have contstantly dodged questions about them taking salary reductions and stepping down from Qwango Boards.

Hopefully though, their game me now be up along with their buddies in FF and the Union members will now rise up and reclaim their Union and the ethos upon which Big Jim Larkin and others based them on.
 


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I think this is a key priority over the next period. Many people are angry with the leadership and many people, due to social partnership, have deemed the unions to be against the people. I reckon the booing on sat was a mixture of these two. Fat cat top brass on massive wages have no connection with the ranks.
 

BlackLion

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i think the Union bosses tried and failed in there attempts to become the praetorian guard of Irish politics. If they try again they should be stopped at all costs.
 

Sync

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I fail to remember all the unions folks bitching about social partnership and benchmarking now making clear their displeasure with it 5 years ago when the cash from benchmarking came in.
 

Seanie Lemass

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The boohing of Jack - who was doing a poor impression of a poor actor doing a poor impression of Big Jim Larkin - was very significant. People are able to see through chancers. On which note I wonder what sort of reception Gilmore might have gotten had ICTU invited him to speak?
 

CptSternn

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Unions should be run by its members, not some guy in a suit who makes treble what the people they represent make. They need to have a vote among themselves and put a member of their own ranks in the position of leadership, as at the end of the day any choices they make will effect their own lives as well as their comrades.
 

colgan

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"but my place of employment do not support union membership"

I am sure they don't as most employers see trade unions as obstacles to greater profitability. However, it is your right in both national law and international labour standards, not to mention the UNCHR that you can join a union. AFAIK you do not delcare to your employer that you are in a union, I am sure your employer is member of isme or ibec of the like and doesn't consult you on their membership of those.

I'd suggest that if you wish to alter the union movement then should first join it and use your vote to elect the candidate which you have confidence in to take that union in the best direction.

There is no doubt that Begg and O'Connor have been tarished by the involvement with FF led governments. However, both men are elected officials within the union movement and the only people that can ultimately change this is the union membership.

I think at this stage the union movement could do with a fresh leadership, one that is more willing to take what the media would term "radical" steps to protect worker rights.

I think however, that as in the general population there is a large degree of apathy and there needs to be real alternative put forward to act as catalyst for change.
 

Verhofstadt

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"but my place of employment do not support union membership"

I am sure they don't as most employers see trade unions as obstacles to greater profitability. However, it is your right in both national law and international labour standards, not to mention the UNCHR that you can join a union. AFAIK you do not delcare to your employer that you are in a union, I am sure your employer is member of isme or ibec of the like and doesn't consult you on their membership of those.

I'd suggest that if you wish to alter the union movement then should first join it and use your vote to elect the candidate which you have confidence in to take that union in the best direction.

There is no doubt that Begg and O'Connor have been tarished by the involvement with FF led governments. However, both men are elected officials within the union movement and the only people that can ultimately change this is the union membership.

I think at this stage the union movement could do with a fresh leadership, one that is more willing to take what the media would term "radical" steps to protect worker rights.

I think however, that as in the general population there is a large degree of apathy and there needs to be real alternative put forward to act as catalyst for change.
Good post.

Leadership is weak in many areas of Irish civil society because of the apathy of general populace.

Join a union, join a political party.. join National Alliance/Forum if you must.. but get out there and get involved or else all shall forever remain the same.
 

Watch The Break

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Nov 12, 2009
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The unions pushed Seanie Fitz into taking on the reckless loaning practices which have ruined this country. As well as that, their scurrilous campaign in the Indo inflated the property bubble to absurd levels and all the time, they hid their actions so those idiots on the looney left would blame the crisis on the banking and political elite. They played a shrewd game, but the game is up now.
 

brughahaha

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I fail to remember all the unions folks bitching about social partnership and benchmarking now making clear their displeasure with it 5 years ago when the cash from benchmarking came in.
I think the expression is eaten bread is soon forgotten

The problem with unions as far as I can see

1 A functioning union involves participating ... usually only the hotheads and looney fringe are so motivated ... result .. PR disasters and mindless stupidity like the "bank half hour" and passport office action turning more and more off

2 In large chunks of the Private sector , they are an irrelevance , often due to lack on interest by employees rather than management


3 They are seen by many young people as preserving the status quo for older employees to the detriment of new entrants .... lots of examples of this

Irish pay is generally quite high, conditions regulated by much legislation (yes I know there are exceptions), Unions to be fair have helped make themselves redundant and have spent the last 15 years concentrating on the PS which as a proportion of Irish jobs has diminished .... yet they cant understand their increasing irrelevance
ICTU claims 600,000 members yet last Saturday attracted only a hardcore of 50,000.... less than 10% (even allowing for the weather an dreadful turnout)

Poor Management and little sign of change...... cant see any future but a declining role in Irish Public life ...... just like the UK
 

havesomeimagination

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There is no doubt that Begg and O'Connor have been tarished by the involvement with FF led governments. However, both men are elected officials within the union movement and the only people that can ultimately change this is the union membership.

.
Actually neither of them is democratically elected in the common sense understanding of the idea. Begg was appointed General Secretary in 2001 and was not elected by the ICTU membership, while O'Connor is President for Life of SIPTU having been elected for the second time in 2006 (he was elected for the first time in 2003). Given everything that's happened since there is a clear need to change this ridiculous rule and redemocratise the unions. All officials should be elected but most are not.
 


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