Three unions merge to create new Fórsa ‘super union’ for public service workers

‘Overwhelming’ support from CPSU, Impact and PSEU unions to forge new union in 2018

 

A new 80,000-strong public service union to be known as Fórsa is to be created from the merger of the Civil, Public and Services Union (CPSU), Impact, and the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU).

Unions involved voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of the merger – a factor immediately welcomed by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Patricia King who described the result as “highly significant and very positive.”

The vote in favour was carried with 76 percent of CPSU , 86 per cent of Impact voters and 70 per cent of the PSEU voting in favour of the proposal.

The Registrar for Friendly Societies, which regulates the Republic’s trade unions, is now expected to sanction the merger which will see Fórsa operational in early 2018.

The new union will represent hundreds of different grades, professions and occupations covering about 30,000 civil servants, 30,000 health workers, 12,000 education staff, 10,000 local authority workers, and 6,500 people in semi-state organisations and private companies.

Speaking after the final ballot results on Monday, Impact general secretary Shay Cody said Fórsa would be “a progressive platform for trade unionism in Ireland”.

He said it would “strengthen the hand and amplify the voice” of civil and public servants. “It will work for a more prosperous and secure future for the 80,000-plus workers we now represent and the thousands more that need the protection of a strong, sure friend in the workplace and in our communities,” he said.

PSEU general secretary Tom Geraghty said the vote was “an historic occasion for public servants, the Irish trade union movement and for all who believe in a fairer society”.

CPSU general secretary Eoin Ronayne said Fórsa would bring together thousands of similar grades of workers across the civil and public services into one organisation for the first time. “The new union is committed to securing better terms and conditions for its members, while being determined to work for the provision of better public services for all,” he said.

Impact president Pat Fallon said the new union would amplify the workers’ voice “not just in the public service, but also in commercial and non-commercial semi-state organisations, the community and voluntary sector, and many private companies”.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions also welcomed the proposed merger, describing it as “highly significant and very positive”.

“This is a hugely significant and positive step forward for the trade union movement. It is the culmination of many years work and brings to fruition a key element of the report of the Commission on the Trade Union Movement, published in 2011, said ICTU general secretary Patricia King.