Begg to step down as Ictu chief within two years
Development of new constitution for trade union movement among goals in meantime
Ictu general secretary David Begg has said he is to step down before the next biennial conference of the trade union movement in two years’ time. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Mr Begg said in the interim he had three objectives: the introduction of new rights for collective bargaining, the development of a new constitution for the trade union movement and the drawing up of a new economic plan for the country in association with the Nevin Economic Research Institute.
Meanwhile, incoming Ictu president John Douglas of the Mandate trade union said it is critical that the union movement reorganises its structure and makes a political impact if it is to achieve its aims.
Mr Douglas said in some respects the movement was at war, fighting a battle for the values and ideas that would shape the future of the island of Ireland.
“If we could mobilise 800,000 trade union members and their families to vote for progressive political parties, it is likely that we would not be facing austerity policies North and South.
“What is also clear is that if we could mobilise the political muscle of the trade union movement, we would today already enjoy free collective bargaining and our public sector members would not have the financial emergency measures in the public interest bill 2013 hanging over their heads.”
Mr Douglas said free collective bargaining was a human right and that the financial emergency legislation was an attack on that right. He said it imposed penalties on workers who exercised their free choice in collective bargaining.
Mr Douglas said the legislation must be repealed as a matter of urgency.