Unions ‘should stop navel gazing and squabbling’

Ictu chief urges unions to make use of new industrial relations legislation

Trade union representatives should stop navel gazing and internal squabbling and concentrate on assisting workers to escape the curse of inequality, the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Patricia King (above) has said

Trade union representatives should stop navel gazing and internal squabbling and concentrate on assisting workers to escape the curse of inequality, the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Patricia King (above) has said

 

Trade union representatives should stop navel gazing and internal squabbling and concentrate on assisting workers to escape the curse of inequality, the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said.

In an address to its biennial conference in Ennis Co Clare, Patricia King said inequality was not the price to be paid for rising prosperity but rather it was inequality that made rising prosperity possible.

Ms King said the trade union movement had spent a lot of time analysing the difficulties and challenges facing workers. However she said it could not keep “contemplating our postition”.

“We have to look beyond that picture and recognise that we in the trade union movement are the only group with the capacity to change the curent order.”

She said the capacity of the trade union movement to influence change would be greatly enhanced by pending legislation and other measures in relation to collective bargaining rights, the restoration of registered employment agreements - which determine terms and conditions in particular sectors - and sector employment orders.

She said these developments “position us to achieve decent rates of pay where we are substantially representative of a class type of group of workers in a particular sector - something that has evaded us for many years”.

“Now that we are on the cusp of this agreement, it behoves every trade union representative to embrace the value of these mechanisms, stop the navel gazing and inter-union squabbling and deliver the value of trade union organisation to all workers suffering from the curse that is inequality.”

Ms King said the greatest friend that inequality and those who perpetrated it had was a weak trade union organisation.

Ms King told the conference that theintroduction of a living wage of €11.45 per hour would present strong advantages and would create a “virtuous circle effect”.

She said it would lead to increased domestic demand, generating higher tax revenue, and would also result in growth in economic performance which inturn would create employment and raise living standards.

Ms King also argued that the use of bogus self employment methods in particular sectors seemed to be supported by the Revenue Comissioners and that this should be abolished immediately.

Ms King strongly criticised the behaviour of “corporate thugs” in the recent controvery over the Clerys department store who, she, maintained, had connived in secret and performed company law gymnastics for the sole purpose of fleeing their obligations to their workers who had given decades of loyal service.