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Teachers Union of Ireland rebel, but no clear direction from executive

Anne Conway 

(TUI Congress delegate)

14 April 2010

The TUI conference despite calling for a strong rejection of the ĎPublic Services agreementí decided on no clear strategy on the way forward after the Congress. A number of special motions discussed during the debate on the Public services Agreement condemned the role of the ICTU and called for a united campaign with other public sector unions opposing the deal.  There was sharp criticism of the Public Services Committee of Congress and calls for the TUI to oppose any aggregation of the vote.  Despite many militant speeches delegates left the congress without any clear direction from the full time officials and the Executive other than a call the deal to be rejected.  The Presidentís speech at the end of Congress was full of rhetoric but it contained no concrete proposals on what to do after Congress. Many delegates condemned the talks and sharply criticized the full time officials for entering talks as they had had been mandated from congress to stay out of partnership talks with the Government. 

Delegates unanimously supported a motion calling for a mass campaign against the bank bail out, the following motion was passed:

 ďCongress agrees to launch a mass national campaign against the bail out as part of its campaign of industrial action against the public service agreement as the bail out is directly related to the attack on public sector workers livelihoods and the disastrous state of our public servicesíĒ. 

I spoke  on the motion and said such a campaign would have the effect of uniting workers both in the public and private sector and would show clearly that we will not be fooled as to who is responsible for the crisis.  I pointed out that a recent poll showed 94% of the population believe we havenít been told the truth about the level of the banks debts yet the unions were happy to do a deal with Government which protects the perpetrators of the massive crime that is NAMA while we as public sector workers will experience further job losses and the destruction of public services. 

This Government is in office because it is being propped up by the ICTU talks, the talks have served to normalize cuts for public sector workers while the bank bail out continues apace. Our contracts are being systematically torn up, while new Star contracts are being agreed for those who caused the crash. Our answer should be to tear up the contracts being issued by Govt to the speculators and bankers and reject NAMA and the bail out. 

The govt tell us it will destroy our international reputation if we donít bail out these bust banks, we must continue on the mad path we are on.  It is time for this Govt to be given the Red Card and kicked out of office. They have destroyed the future of the youth of the country with their failed policies. 

While these speculators of the Golden Circle were pillaging the country we were teaching with scant resources the young people of the country, spending on education in 2008 was 26th out of 28 counties in the OECD, this was after a decade of the so called Celtic Tiger.

The Govt knew full well what was going on yet they gave our pension money to institutions that no capitalist in the world was prepared to invest in. 

They even claimed that NAMA could make a profit.   Black Tuesday gave us a taste of what is to come and it is not profit.  The orchestrated talks coinciding with the bank bail out revelations showed clearly the collaborationist role of the ICTU and trade union leaders.  It negotiated 19th century working conditions for workers in the 21st century. 

We condemn these talks and we reject NAMA and the bank bail out. We demand that our Executive and paid officials immediately launch a mass national campaign against the bail out commencing with a mass protest outside Anglo Irish Bank to coincide with May Day. Such a campaign would unite workers, students and entire communities against the bail out. 

We demand that those who caused the crisis pay for it, not the workers and youth of the country.  This motion gives us the opportunity to move forward, let us grasp it. We canít pay, we wonít pay. 

A protest by anti NAMA activists was held as the Minister was leaving the Congress and received widespread media coverage.  Every time a Govt minister appears at an event they should be greeted with similar protests. 

We need to build a revolt against this rotten government and the bank bail out.


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