Raise The Roof rally in Cork, 11th March 2019

Raise The Roof Rally Cork 11.03.2019

SIPTU Meath District Council housing seminar and launch of housing campaign, 15th March 2019:

SIPTU Meath DC housing campaign launch

SIPTU Meath DC housing seminar and campaign launch

 

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Delighted my trade union is wholeheartedly supporting an unofficial, wildcat, walkout strike decided collectively at rank and file level by a show of hands (or feet). (And on an issue wider than just an immediate employer.) More please.

SIPTU supports school strike 15.03.2013SIPTU supports school strike 2 15.03.2013

SIPTU supports school strike 3 14.03.2013

NHHC flyer side 1 09.03.2019

 

NHHC flyer side 2 09.02.2019

 

 

 

The general public is supporting the nurses;

The biggest workplace related march in modern times supported the nurses;

Many trade unions or trade union sections support the nurses;

The firefighters support the nurses;

The prison officers support the nurses!!

The ICTU Women’s Committee support the nurses;

The General Secretary of the ICTU is giving great support (according to INMO General Secretary’s speech on Saturday 9th February);

The Labour Party supports the nurses (they were on the march);

Fianna Fáil supports the nurses (‘This Week’, RTÉ Radio 1 today);

I want my trade union to support the nurses.

The general public is supporting the nurses;

The biggest workplace related march in modern times supported the nurses;

Many trade unions or trade union sections support the nurses;

The firefighters support the nurses;

The prison officers support the nurses!!

The ICTU Women’s Committee support the nurses;

The General Secretary of the ICTU is giving great support (according to INMO General Secretary’s speech on Saturday 9th February);

The Labour Party supports the nurses (they were on the march);

Fianna Fáil supports the nurses (‘This Week’, RTÉ Radio 1 today);

I want my trade union to support the nurses.

As has happened before, for instance during the water charge campaign, the exact position of our Union on a major issue is not generally known, or broadcast, leading to misunderstanding and even misrepresentation.

Sometimes within the Union, representatives, and even the NEC, may press for a position or clarification at some variance from the previously understood leadership policy in general. This modification may be held as the official position, available perhaps for future queries and challenges, but it can also be given the minimum publicity to avoid the impression of backing down or to effectively foster the old stance.  So, many members, unhappy with their Union’s position, may be unaware that the position is not as cut and dried as generally thought.

Well into the water charges campaign SIPTU on two occasions called on our members to support upcoming water marches. This was not widely proclaimed, there was no mobilisation effort or even visible SIPTU presence on the marches. Nevertheless the calls happened and remain of historical and internal interest.

So it is with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation strikes. SIPTU’s position seems shockingly simple, and deplorable to many members wishing to support the nurses, as most people do, in the greatest industrial battle for some time. Reports such as that below from BreakingNews.ie (reporting an RTE radio interview) on 9th January 2019 have been left stand as is in the public mind (though at least one press release softened the message).

“SIPTU has said its members in nursing will not follow their colleagues in other unions in striking over pay increases”…SIPTU Health Division Organiser Paul Bell said his union – which has some 4,000 members in nursing – believes the INMO decision could jeopardise the Public Service Agreement. ‘Our comrades in the INMO are pursuing a particular strategy in a particular way, we are pursuing a strategy for nurses’ pay through the Public Service Agreement,’ Mr Bell said. “He said that while it will be a ‘difficult challenge’ for SIPTU members to walk past an INMO picket, his union does not share the nursing union’s opinion that the improvements they seek will not bring down the broader public sector pay agreement. ‘We do not believe that stepping outside process will deliver what we want to achieve over the short to medium term,’ Mr Bell told RTÉ Radio 1’s Today programme.”

The message seemed clear: the INMO are wrong, the INMO should stop and SIPTU will be passing the pickets.

Paul Bell has not pursued this engagement with the media and there have been two authoritative and important statements from the Union which have, unfortunately, been given only very limited circulation.

On 15th January a SIPTU press release said,

“SIPTU meets HSE on nurses pay
SIPTU nursing representatives met with the HSE today on the measures required to advance the pay and conditions of employment of our nursing and midwifery members, having regard to the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA).
SIPTU representatives urged the health service employers to consider the recommendation of the Public Service Pay Commission that the parties to the PSSA should examine the adequacy of current pay arrangements and should do so as a matter of urgency.
SIPTU fully supports the right of all workers to fight for better pay and conditions in the most effective manner as determined by union members.”

Note please these two important points: SIPTU urged consideration of “the recommendation of the Public Service Pay Commission that the parties to the PSSA should examine the adequacy of current pay arrangements and should do so as a matter of urgency”. What can this mean except that there is a case, under the PSSA even, for urgent movement on pay?!

Secondly SIPTU “fully supports the right of all workers to fight for better pay and conditions in the most effective manner as determined by union members” (our emphasis). What can this mean except that SIPTU recognises the right of INMO members to fight for better pay and conditions in the most effective way they determine as members of their union the INMO?!!

It has to be said that this apparent ‘we’re not doing it but you go ahead if you want‘ attitude has not always been reflected privately throughout the Union, and the full support for what other workers might do through their unions was not reflected, of course, by any SIPTU presence on the massive Dublin march of 9th February.

Then on Thursday 7th February the President of SIPTU Padraig Peyton (a psychiatric nurse himself) made a special short statement to a gathering of SIPTU District Councils officers in Dublin. He said that he wished to let it be known that SIPTU had engaged with the HSE in relation to SIPTU members who were not passing the INMO picket lines. The clear meaning was that SIPTU would be offering protection to members who respected the nurses pickets. Whatever about what might, or might not be, being said to SIPTU health workers on the ground, the SIPTU President’s statement seemed clear and firm enough.

The regretful separation of our Union from the nurses strike, and from a second mass movement of workers, compounding our absence from the water campaign with our absence from the widely popular nurses rebellion, remains. But the active position, and stated policy,  can be seen as perhaps less negative than generally thought and, especially, if made known, shouted rather than whispered, might offer some support to the nurses out fighting for decency, respect and fairness for all workers.

 

 

 

nurses around the world

liberty hall question mark