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A qualified resistance: United Left and the Croke Park lll deal

30 May 2013

We reproduce below a statement by the United Left group. We also publish a critical reaction by one of its members.  We welcome the opposition to the latest sellout.  We welcome the call for a united fightback. However it seems to us that the proposed fightback is too wide and too diffuse. It is too diffuse in that there is a consistent case for calling for Labour out of government which is never taken up.  That would also require a call for the resignation of the ICTU leadership and the leading figures who negotiated Croke Park ll and are pushing through Croke Park lll. We also need to indicate that supporting acceptance of the deal while the government is pushing through legislation to compulsorily cut wages is in fact open scabbing – a form of scabbing that was used by Begg and O’Connor in Croke Park l. Of very deep concern is the use of the term; Haddington Road Agreement. It is an attempt to hide the fact that the interests of workers are being, for the third time, subordinated to Irish capital and the Troika. It use by UL is an indication that they are willing to go along with the union bureaucracy in this thin deception.

United Left calls for NO vote on Haddington Road Agreement

Oppose the Finance & Emergency Measures Bill

Support protest at Dáil – Wed 29 May, 17.00

The UL today called for a NO vote on the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA) and for opposition to the Finance Emergency Measures Bill.

There is no improvement in the HRA over the CPII deal that was rejected. Pay is to be reduced and working hours increased – which will lead to job losses. New entrants will start on reduced pay scales. Pensions are to be cut.

The government's promise to restore pay scales in three years' time cannot be believed. For starters, the current government will not be in power. Secondly, the Nevin Institute say the €1 billion cuts will not reduce the deficit by €1 billion because the cuts will reduce consumer spending and lead to job losses – causing increased state spending and a deficit reduction of only about €250 million. Thirdly, Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin are already laying out cuts targets for 2015 and 2016. The government will be looking for more cuts in three years' time, not a restoration of reduced incomes.

Labour and Fine Gael's Finance and Emergency Measures Bill would give them the power to change pay and conditions of workers unless their unions agree to the HRA deal – which also reduces pay and conditions. This is an attempt to intimidate workers and unions into accepting an austerity agreement: public sector workers will have their pay determined by their unions' stance on an agreement, not by their grade or position.

The right of a trade union to defend its members is being gutted – with the support of the Labour Party. The UL calls for ICTU to condemn this legislation, which undermines voluntary industrial relations and free collective bargaining, and for Labour TDs to vote against it. 

In the anniversary year of the 1913 lockout, trade union leaders have done sectoral deals and divided the labour movement – completely against the ideas of Jim Larkin who advocated unity to resist attacks on pay, conditions and union rights.

The UL calls for an end to sectoral agreements, for a united call for a No vote to the HRA and for the broadest unity of the Left and others in opposition to the HRA and the Finance Emergency Measures bill. We call for support for the protest at the Dáil on Wednesday at 17.00 called by the No 2 Croke Park 2 Campaign.

Critique from a member:

Why call on the ICTU to do anything ?? The ICTU is the same as Lab/FG working for the interest of the system. Their ''System.” You use their language  ''Haddington Road Agreement.''  It is Croke Park 3. New name new deal??????  

Brian Gould.


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