CPSU to ballot on pulling out of Partnership 2000


The Civil and Public Service Union (CPSU) is to hold a ballot on pulling out of Partnership 2000. Delegates to a special conference in Dublin at the weekend rejected the advice of the union's general secretary, Mr Blair Horan, who urged them not to call a ballot.

The conference passed a motion instructing the executive committee to ballot members within a month "with a recommendation to withdraw from Partnership 2000 and launch a campaign for substantial pay increases". The motion also noted "that while the partnership approach is credited with creating the Celtic Tiger boom, workers have not reaped the benefits of economic prosperity".

The executive committee will meet this week to formulate a motion to be put to the membership. Arguments for and against pulling out of Partnership 2000 are likely to be provided to the members before the ballot, despite the motion's call for a "recommendation to withdraw".

Earlier, Mr Horan appealed to the delegates, saying that "catching up on the higher paid" would only happen "through concerted action with other like-minded unions".

Despite problems the CPSU had with inflation, tax and the housing crisis, Partnership 2000 had "delivered real income increases through pay and taxation".

He added: "For the first time in a generation, we are providing jobs for our population and Irish living standards are converging with those in Europe".

Mr Horan said the Budget would be "an important test of this Government's commitment to the partnership approach" and there could be "no return to the approach of favouring higher income earners. The better-off have achieved the lion's share of both pay increases and tax cuts over recent years and that process must now be reversed."

He said the union would seek £400 million in personal tax cuts, extra services for the disabled and measures to tackle the housing crisis and reduce the cost of childcare for working parents.

Pulling out of Partnership 2000 would be "a recipe for disaster", Mr Horan said. It would mean the union would no longer be able to serve pay claims on employers through normal procedures and would have "no option but to have a ballot for strike action which if successful would lead our membership on a campaign of industrial action". The union would "have to abandon the partnership structures and would not be able to secure the additional 4.5 per cent due under Partnership 2000".

He called for support for a strategy in which the union would complete the local bargaining round of negotiations and give priority to flat-rate pay increases and the problems of the lower paid in future negotiations.