'No real negotiations' on Croke Park deal

TUI president warns unions risk becoming part of problem and not the solution

 TUI president Gerard Craughwell. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

TUI president Gerard Craughwell. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

There were no real negotiations involved in reaching the new Croke Park agreement proposals for staff in the public service, the president ofthe Teachers’ Union of Ireland(TUI) has said.

In his address to the annual conference of the union in Galway, Gerry Craughwell said that during the overnight sessions that led to the announcement of the proposals, trade union representatives sat around chatting amongst themselves and waited for “unilateral” announcements.

“Negotiations , in my view, involves parties with opposing views seeking an accommodation they can live with. Real negotiation does not take place when one of the parties can inflict its will on the other because it has a finger on the nuclear button. Let’s be honest, there were no real negotiation involved in reaching the Labour Relations Commission proposals.”

Mr Craughwell said that by becoming involved in processes such as the first and second Croke Park agreements, the trade union movement had been placed in a position where it was at risk of being part of the problem and not the solution.

“Where are we going 100 years after the lockout when the trade union movement appears to be a willing participant in cutting workers’ pay.”

Mr Craughwell said the public service committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions did not seem to be able to serve the needs of every union it purported to represent.

“I believe it does not have the sectoral knowledge to negotiate for our members. Now is the time to insist on the right of the TUI, and only the TUI , to negotiate on our members’ pay and terms and conditions of employment.

Mr Craughwell called on teachers and lecturers to revert back to doing only work for which they were contracted to do.

“At third level, lecturers are in some cases delivering lecturing hours way above those they are paid to deliver. The costs here are simple. Lecturers working hours beyond their contracts are costing our members’ hours and jobs. We must protect what little we have left of our careers and our career paths. These practices must stop imediately.”

Mr Craughwell said the union would do what it must to protect its members.

He said there had been calls for the TUI to instruct its members to withdraw from extra-curricular activities. However he said he would see this as the very last straw.

In his address Mr Craughwell said society must question the responsibility of leaving mobile phones in the hands of children as young as six or seven and allowing unsupervised access to social media.

He said bullying in society and in schools and colleges was a serious problem.

He said the growth and availability of access to social media and text messaging meant that “the victim is available to the bully on a 24-hour basis”.

“Parents have to question their child’s access to mobile phones and other social networking technology. I am baffled that while parents will make sure their children prepare for ed, washing teeth, changing into nightwear, few parents take time to ensure that mobile phones are left downstairs. Few parents take time to oversee what messages their children are receiving or sending.”

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