The “labour fakir,” full of guile,
Base doctrine ever preaches,
And whilst he bleeds the rank and file
Tame moderation teaches.

From ‘We Only Want the Earth’ (1907)


ICTU executive 22.08.2018

Above: Members of the Congress Executive Council and staff supporting a Yes Vote in the forthcoming referendum on the repeal of the 8th Amendment

ICTU statement:

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions opposed the inclusion of the 8th Amendment in the Constitution in 1983 and our position today remains unchanged: Congress is supporting repeal of the 8th Amendment in the May 25 referendum.

Recent contributions to referendum debate from David Begg, the former General Secretary of Congress, were made in a private and personal capacity. Mr Begg retired from his position with Congress, in March 2015.

Congress believes that repeal is necessary in order to achieve a more compassionate Ireland, one in which restrictions on women’s healthcare are removed from the Constitution. It would then be a matter for our elected representatives in the Oireachtas to legislate for the introduction of a regulated, comprehensive and quality healthcare service that is safe for women and girls, in line with international norms. It is our view that the 8th Amendment prevents this from happening and should now be repealed.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions, 22nd May 2018

SIPTU flyer for 7th April

SIPTU notices 08.03.2018

The Union (presumably the NEC and Officers) is conducting a consultation with the membership with a view to:

  1. Drawing up a Development Plan for the Union for the medium term and;
  2. The future of the Political Fund

A questionnaire was circulated to all members. Committee and individual members could make submissions up to 12th October. The Union is still accepting late entries of both.

Meetings with delegates to the Divisional Conferences are underway.

A consultative meeting will be held, at which all members may participate, on

Tuesday, 1st November 2016, at 7.oo pm in Liberty Hall, Dublin.

My own written submission is posted in the post following this.


My own tuppence worth for the moment:

Des Derwin – September 15, 2016

Some quick, initial and incomplete thoughts on a political (not an economic or a full trade union and industrial) programme for union activists to campaign for in the movement.

1. Time now for disaffiliation from the Labour Party.

2. The establishment of elected political committees and fora in unions to address pro tem support for election candidates in each election. Political funds to stay.

3. The question of replacement affiliation suspended pending the emergence of a new workers party commanding substantial support.

4. The unions to consider participation in the development of a new broadbased radical left party of workplace, community and campaign struggle and Dáil representation.

5. Repeal of the 1990 Industrial Relations Act.

6. Repeal of FEMPI

7. Trade union independence of employers and governments through renunciation of social partnership agreements and arrangements.

8. Sinn Féin should be regarded as part of the fluid mix towards a new workers’ party but not at this time a candidate for replacement of the Labour Party by trade union affiliation.

9. All trade unions to allow political discussion and decision as vital to the interest of workers; discontinue prohibitions on political motions, etc.

10. Recognition of the tremendous support in the movement for the Trade Union Campaign for Repeal of the 8th Amendment and for all unions to openly back repeal.

11. Legislation against  ‘uncertain hours’ at work, ‘if and when’ contracts and effective casualisation.

12. Statutory right to trade union recognition and representation.


From the People Before Profit Alliance website:

SIPTU Activists Say Don’t Call For A Vote For Labour

This [sic] year’s SIPTU conference was a controlled affair where delegates were persuaded to vote down a resolution to disaffiliate from the Labour Party.

But the union leadership has opened a consultation period among activists about whether or not they should call for a vote for Labour.

The feedback they are getting is highly negative. District committees that previously voted against a resolution to disaffiliate are balking at an open call to vote Labour. They are not convinced that they could stand in front of their members and urge such a vote. They know that they are in danger of losing all credibility.

The union leaders are now claiming that access to the political fund will be open to non-Labour party candidates. Time will tell how sincere they are on this.

The Labour Party has been a disaster for workers. They used special legislation known as FEMPI to slash the wages of public sector workers and threaten them with further cuts if they did not agree to disastrous social partnership agreements.

They imposed a policy of age discrimination against young workers by insisting that new entrants who joined the public sector after 2011 started on a lower rate.

SIPTU members should get onto their representatives and demand that their union does not call for a vote for the Labour Party.

January 20th, 2016
Attention: General Membership



A national demonstration concerning the future of the public water supply has been called as follows:

Saturday, 29th August, 2015   Time: 2.00 p.m.

Assembly Points – Heuston Station and Connolly Station, Dublin

March to O’Connell Street, Dublin

Apart from the issue of water charges, it is understood that this protest will highlight the call for a referendum to amend the Constitution to prohibit the future privatisation of the public water supply and also to voice general opposition to austerity.

We in SIPTU have continuously opposed the one-sided austerity agenda and our policy on the public water supply is that:

  • There should be a referendum to amend the Constitution to prohibit the future privatisation of the public water supply.
  • Irish Water should be re-designated as a non-commercial, not for profit, State Company.
  • The work entailed in the provision of the public water supply should be carried out by workers employed on collectively bargained and agreed terms of employment in Irish Water and in the Local Authorities in accordance with current arrangements.
  • All householders should be provided with the amount of water they require to meet their normal domestic needs, at no cost, with a tariff thereafter on waste, as a conservation measure.

Accordingly, we encourage members to participate in this protest, of their own volition, if they are free and available to do so.

We believe that every peacefully conducted protest and democratic action has the potential to help further the demands for an adequate supply of water to meet the normal domestic needs of every household, at no direct cost, and a referendum to change the Constitution to prohibit the privatisation of the public water supply.

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