Irish unions support protests

Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 00:00

Dublin:The Irish trade union movement has fully backed the day of action across Europe yesterday.

However, it is effectively intending to concentrate its efforts on a demonstration against austerity which is taking place later this month.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said yesterday that it was “fully supportive” of the day of action organised yesterday by the European Trade Union Confederation.

It said it supported and participated in a previous day of action last February when it placed pickets for a time on the European Commission offices in Dublin.

Senior trade union sources said last night that under Irish legislation individual unions would have to have a legitimate grievance with an employer before they could ballot for workplace stoppages. This would have to be passed by members before any strikes could take place.

Union sources said it would be difficult to argue that actions by the troika constituted a legitimate dispute with an individual employer, particularly in the private sector.

In the public service any threat of industrial action would more than likely be referred to the body overseeing the Croke Park agreement as a breach of the deal.

Union sources said that across Europe a variety of actions took place yesterday against austerity with strikes occurring only in a limited number of countries.

Earlier this month the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, David Begg, told affiliated unions that its executive council had agreed unanimously to invite them to participate in a demonstration against austerity being organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) on Saturday November 24th.

“The initiative by the DCTU is intended to call attention to the devastating consequences of austerity policies in the lead in to the budget in early December.

“It coincides with a range of protests in individual countries in Europe taking place during November and with the same general objective.”

“The officers of the DCTU have asked Congress to ensure that affiliated unions make their members aware of the demonstration.”