Ictu president vows to make political impact

Trade union movement at war, says Douglas

John Douglas said it was in a battle for the values and ideas that would shape the future of the island of Ireland

John Douglas said it was in a battle for the values and ideas that would shape the future of the island of Ireland

Fri, Jul 5, 2013, 08:16


The incoming president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said it is critical that the trade union movement reorganises its structure and makes a political impact if it is to achieve its aims.

John Douglas of the Mandate trade union said that in some respects the union movement was at war. He said it was in 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.”

He 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 those who exercised their free choice in collective bargaining.

Meanwhile, the general secretary of Ictu said he would be stepping down before the next biennial conference of the trade union movement in two years time. David 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.