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SIPTU President says Labour has saved Ireland from Fine Gael

Date Released: 16 June 2014

Paper by Jack O’Connor, SIPTU General President to the Labour Party Trade Union Section Seminar in William Norton House on Saturday, 14th June 2014

In the context of the outcome of the recent elections, this paper attempts to address two key questions from a Trade Union perspective.

These are:

  • Whether we as Trade Unionists should be concerned at the demise of the Labour Party – whether it matters for our members and for working people generally?
  • If we conclude that it does, what is to be done to revive it so that it can effectively further the objective of the egalitarian society which it was founded to promote.

Across the Trade Union Movement and the Left, there have been essentially three responses to the economic collapse and the ensuing assault on working people and civil society.  These are as follows:

  • That of engagement to mitigate the damage to people and to seek to influence the route to a sustainable future
  • That of outright resistance to expedite the collapse of the system in the hope of replacing it with some kind of better and even egalitarian paradigm and
  • That of staying offside while those who subscribe to the first approach are destroyed in their efforts to protect people as far as possible in the hope of occupying the vacant space.

In the light of the experiences of 2009 which exposed all the limitations of the Trade Union Movement as currently organised, I subscribe to the first approach and it has also been the approach of the Labour Party.   While doing so I must say I respect those who adhere to the second or outright resistance approach and even allow for the possibility that it may ultimately prove correct. 

However, the consequences of failure would entail misery on an awesome scale and the probable destruction of more than half a century of Trade Union work.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL PAPER HERE

 

 


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