Anti-deal unions to pressure Labour TDs

Trade unions want Labour TDs to accept outcome of ballots on Croke Park II deal

The Government position on Croke Park II as set out by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin is that all unions will ballot their members individually. Photograph: David Sleator

The Government position on Croke Park II as set out by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin is that all unions will ballot their members individually. Photograph: David Sleator

Tue, Apr 2, 2013, 06:00

Trade unions opposed to the new Croke Park agreement are planning a campaign to put pressure on Labour Party TDs to vote against legislation implementing it.

The unions want Labour TDs to accept the outcome of ballots where members of individual unions vote to reject the proposed new accord.

The Government’s position is that if the deal is ratified by the public service committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, it will be considered to have been accepted by all affiliated unions even if their membership had voted against it.

Under traditional congress rules, its stance is determined by a vote of affiliated unions with those with larger membership – such as Siptu and Impact – given greater weight. Traditionally all unions have abided by the decision of Ictu’s public service committee.

However, on this occasion a number of unions have argued they will not be bound by an overall public service committee decision on ratification as the current Croke Park proposals would see a reduction in members’ earnings.

A new campaign by unions to target Labour Party backbenchers to accept a No vote is expected to get under way within days.

The chairman of the Labour parliamentary party, Jack Wall, said last night that it would be premature to make any comment in advance of a decision by union members.

“At this stage it would be wrong to pre-empt the decision to be made by union members,” said Mr Wall.

He added that once the process had been concluded there would be interaction between Labour TDs and unions but he had no intention of beginning that process until decisions were made.


Legislation
Speaking on behalf of the unions for a No vote yesterday, Eoin Ronayne of the Civil Public and Services Union said they would be seeking Labour backbenchers to encourage the Government to respect any vote to reject the deal and not to railroad the proposed measures through by means of legislation.

The Government position as set out by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin is that all unions will ballot their members individually.

“If the agreement is accepted by a congress ballot then it is deemed by us to be accepted by all congress unions. All its measures will apply to those unions. However, unions which put themselves outside the process will have the benefits of the process removed from them,” he said

The new moves to lobby Labour backbenchers come as teachers are expected to warn the Government today of potential industrial relations strife in classrooms if it seeks unilaterally to implement the cuts set out in the proposed new Croke Park deal.

The executive of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland will today table an emergency motion at its annual conference stating that it will resist with all means necessary any move by the Government to put the deal in place.