Third union calls on members to vote No


THE TECHNICAL Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) has become the third union to urge its members to reject the referendum on the fiscal compact treaty.

The general secretary of the union, Eamon Devoy, said yesterday there was nothing in the treat for workers.

“We did not take this decision lightly. It is becoming increasingly obvious that austerity is not working. The right-wing agenda of Chancellor [Angela] Merkel might make sense in Germany, but it is a death sentence for our economy and people.

“The backlash against austerity is no longer limited to small peripheral economies such as Greece and Ireland. The first round of the French elections shows that citizens in major, core economies of Europe are increasingly opposed to this policy.”

The TEEU is the State’s largest craft union and has 40,000 members. It said it had mandated its delegates attending a key meeting of the executive of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions tomorrow, which is to consider the issue of the referendum, to oppose recommending the treaty.

Mr Devoy said under no circumstances “can we embed the draconian fiscal compact treaty in our Constitution”. This would condemn Irish working families to decades of financial servitude to the banks.

“It would effectively transform a social Europe into a financiers’ Europe permanently. There is not even any trade-off on offer in terms of a financial stimulus package, either from our own Government or the troika.

“It is ironic that even the IMF can see current EU policies are suicidal for Ireland.

“The failure of the Government to adopt the Irish Congress of Trade Unions proposal on using a proportion of pension funds to generate growth and jobs in inexplicable.”

The trade union Unite and the retail workers’ union Mandate have already urged members to vote No. Unite’s Irish regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said the treaty would weaken Europe “by making austerity the legal default for governments”.

“There is talk of scare tactics and vague repercussions should we vote No. We will argue strongly first within the trade union community and then among the broader population that we cannot walk blindly into this surrender of the long-term right to determine our own future and the priorities we hold to be the strongest.”

No union has wholeheartedly recommended a Yes vote.

The country’s largest union, Siptu, said last week it would only recommend the fiscal compact treaty if the Government agreed to a new economic stimulus plan, including the provision of incentives to private pension funds to invest in the domestic economy.