February 2012

From the Union this morning:

17th February, 2012

SIPTU NEC calls for suspension of proposed Household Charge

The National Executive Council (NEC) of SIPTU has called on the Government to suspend the proposed Household Charge on the basis that it is unfair and regressive.

At its monthly meeting today (Friday, 17th February) the NEC unanimously supported a motion stating that;

“The Household Charge as currently proposed by the Government is a flat tax which is unfair and regressive in that it subsidises wealthy people at the expense of middle and low income families. The NEC supports the principle of a fair and progressive property tax which is proportionate and which recognises that wealthy households can afford to pay more than those with modest earnings while those on lower incomes should be exempt.

We call on the Government to suspend the introduction of the Household Charge until it is replaced by a fair and progressive property tax. The way the tax is currently being implemented is playing into the hands of those wealthy and vested interests who oppose the very principle of a fair and progressive property tax system.

The Government estimates that payment of the charge by the 1.6m eligible households will yield €160m in 2012. By way of an interim alternative source of revenue until a progressive property tax regime can be put in place we are calling for a suspension of the legacy property tax reliefs.

We have previously called on the Government to introduce a solidarity levy on those earning over €100,000 which would also make up for lost revenues from the proposed Household Charge.

The immediate suspension of all unused section 23 tax reliefs and accelerated capital allowances has the potential to save the Exchequer close to €100m in tax foregone this year.

Restricting landlord mortgage interest relief for both residential and non-residential properties by 10% would bring in an estimated €75m, which together with the suspension of the unused tax reliefs would more than offset the loss of €160m in additional tax revenues from the Household Charge, saving the Exchequer up to €175m.”

A quiet one! Though at least some unions have circulated this call, at least by email to officers and officials,  for support for the Vita Cortex march tomorrow. It is certainly made at a low key, even in the unions. And no public or media dimension to it at all. When a trade union federation calls for support for an activity things are supposed to happen. [If you’re a continental – ed ;)] Anyway, it’s a welcome call. The note from Congress (from last Wednesday or so)  is below.

Dear Colleagues

The Cork Council of Trade Unions will hold a rally in Cork in support of the Vita Cortex workers next Saturday 11 February. It will commence at 2pm from Connolly Hall. The support of your union and its members in the region would be greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely

David Begg


Organised by the Cork Council of Trade Unions

Supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, SIPTU, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions  and individual trade unions

Demonstration to support the Vita Cortex workers

Saturday 11th February 2012

Assemble at 2 pm outside Connolly Hall, Cork, marching to Grand Parade.

SIPTU buses from Dublin


Could Saturdays Cork Council of Trade Unions march (2 pm from Connolly Hall, Cork) in support of the Vita Cortex workers be a celebration? From today’s Irish Examiner:


From today’s Irish Times front page main story:


“With an election due in April, Greek leaders have baulked at the troika’s demand for pay cuts in the private sector, pension reductions and the elimination of thousands of jobs in the public service.

In a further escalation of pressure on the government, the main public and private sector unions in Greece have called a general strike today in protest at the austerity measures.”


Eugene McDonagh, sacked Dublin Bus shop steward and member of the NBRU executive, has won his case on the first day of the Employment Appeals Tribunal yesterday. The case was expected to run for up to a week.

He won the maximum amount of compensation the court would have awarded.  Dublin Bus settled outside without reinstatement. Eugene also gets a reference and legal costs.

Bar reinststement it was the best he could do. It was an understandable outcome, though still shocking that a senior union representative in Dublin Bus could be victimised and sacked for unofficial action. But, as has been pointed out by his supporters, it couldn’t have happened without the OK of the NBRU leadership.

Well done to Eugene and his work, union and political colleagues for their stamina and solidarity. It is bloody awful that we now have an industrial relations  system whereby,  on top of  a prohibition on strike action for an individual case, it takes two years for a case to get to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

Best wishes for your future, Eugene.  Please write up this whole saga in detail and publish it for the benefit of the whole movement.

Thanks to Paula at Trade Union TV for this video of the solidarity gathering for Eugene outside the ETA just prior to the scheduled start of the case yesterday morning (6th February):

From Harristown Bus Drivers

Eugene McDonagh Dublin Bus Unfair Dismissal Case starting 6th Feb 2012

For one week Monday to Friday.

Support Protest at 10am Monday 6th February 2012 @ Employment Appeals
Tribunal, Davitt House, 65a Adelaide Road, Dublin. Calling on all Bus

Drivers & Comrades to support

It’s been two years since the NBRU National Executive member Eugene McDonagh
was sacked from Dublin Bus Harristown.  If you’re off on Monday we’re
asking all Dublin Bus drivers & Comrades to come along and support
Eugene & his family.


Harristown Dublin Bus Drivers