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Thread: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

  1. #1
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    Default UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Just picked up this breaking news from the ever-reliable WSM website (steady now!).

    Workers Solidarity Movement - UNITE formally propose plan of action to ICTU

    It's an interesting new development from inside the trade union movement, and good to see happening. However my first questions are: Can we trust the ICTU leaderships to be open and democratic in both formulating and implementing this proposed Plan Of Action? What is the aim of their plan - is it to defeat the assault on working people's jobs, social protection and public services or to get back around that cosy partnership table again?

    I'd see the proposals from Jimmy Kelly and UNITE as too limited and essentially reformist, but that said it might open a debate inside the TU movement about what they should be doing to defend the interests of their members. I'd be very wary indeed of what mainstream TU leaderships propose, but this may have potential.

    What do the rest of you think?
    "It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities here in Spain and in America and everywhere. We, the workers, can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world here, in our hearts."
    — Buenaventura Durruti

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    I think I would like to see the response from ICTU before commenting too much.

    Lack of trust in union leadership is a huge problem and as you have already pointed out if the public perceive this as a way for unions to get feet back under government tables well then I can't see it gaining much support.

    There are certainly some very good points contained in that letter but you would have to wonder why it's taken so long to get this far.

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Quote Originally Posted by ang View Post
    I think I would like to see the response from ICTU before commenting too much.

    Lack of trust in union leadership is a huge problem and as you have already pointed out if the public perceive this as a way for unions to get feet back under government tables well then I can't see it gaining much support.

    There are certainly some very good points contained in that letter but you would have to wonder why it's taken so long to get this far.
    They had banked on being inside the tent with the govt., IBEC, our IMF friends and so on in some kind of indispensable role, but they got bilked by their bestest friends forever, and the shock of being reduced almost to pleb status away from those big round tables and nameplates had rendered them catatonic until now.

    Jokes besides, there's a little something to the above. ICTU's entire strategy heretofore had been predicated on being wanted for negotiations by govt. and the other 'social partners' and being able to cut deals they could sell to their members, and when the govt. and IBEC folded up that tent and walked away after they got their Croke Park betrayal, they had no other Plan B. They had done nothing else for a whole generation. They have forgotten what a trade union representing its members used to be like.
    "It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities here in Spain and in America and everywhere. We, the workers, can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world here, in our hearts."
    — Buenaventura Durruti

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Ryder View Post
    They had banked on being inside the tent with the govt., IBEC, our IMF friends and so on in some kind of indispensable role, but they got bilked by their bestest friends forever, and the shock of being reduced almost to pleb status away from those big round tables and nameplates had rendered them catatonic until now.

    Jokes besides, there's a little something to the above. ICTU's entire strategy heretofore had been predicated on being wanted for negotiations by govt. and the other 'social partners' and being able to cut deals they could sell to their members, and when the govt. and IBEC folded up that tent and walked away after they got their Croke Park betrayal, they had no other Plan B. They had done nothing else for a whole generation. They have forgotten what a trade union representing its members used to be like.
    Personally, I think the full time leadership of the Trade Unions in Ireland is generally beyond redemption and they need to be taken back by their members. The March on 27th November was it seems intended to keep us all quiet for another 6 months.

    Does anyone have any ideas as to how to deal with the dead hand of the current leadership ?

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    Personally, I think the full time leadership of the Trade Unions in Ireland is generally beyond redemption and they need to be taken back by their members. The March on 27th November was it seems intended to keep us all quiet for another 6 months.
    Fully agree. They have absolutely no credibility whatsoever and cannot be trusted in any way.

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Quote Originally Posted by ang View Post
    Lack of trust in union leadership is a huge problem and as you have already pointed out if the public perceive this as a way for unions to get feet back under government tables well then I can't see it gaining much support.
    "Lack of trust" by who?

    If you're referring to lack of trust in the union leadership by the general public then in analysing the lack of trust we can't really ignore the anti-union narrative which is being heavily promoted by the media. But the way things are going at the moment it's quite possible that large sections of the general public could change tack on that, as part of the growing momentum of rage/dissatisfaction against the political establishment (and the orthodoxy being promoted by the media). Not saying that the entire public will change position on this by any means, but those sections most dissatisfied by the current situation may begin to feel more militant for want of a better word, and the trade union movement itself may gain confidence to take a more progressive stance if it feels it can harness the energy such a rising tide. It's not exactly inspired leadership of course, but it's perhaps more in keeping with the historical public mood and expectations. The recent ICTU mass demo' was a positive in that respect.

    If you're referring to lack of trust in the union leadership by the union membership, I think you need to separate that group into two very distinct elements, those who are actively engaged with the union and those passive members who really are only making up the numbers because their place of employment requires / expects them to. The active members may distrust the leadership, but until they win over the apathetic passive membership to a process of change they're really sort of stuck with the existing status quo. Material circumstances such as increased pressure on terms and conditions, and a general public mood of militancy, will have the effect of politicising the passive membership, but we can't expect all of that dynamic to be leftwards, some of it will go rightwards as members reflect the growing divisions between those who buy and those who reject the orthodox economic narrative.

    Anyhow, it's a positive to see UNITE agitiaging against austerity. The measures they propose would appear to be echoed at this stage by a fairly broad Left grouping.

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Quote Originally Posted by LeftAtTheCross View Post
    "Lack of trust" by who?

    If you're referring to lack of trust in the union leadership by the general public then in analysing the lack of trust we can't really ignore the anti-union narrative which is being heavily promoted by the media. But the way things are going at the moment it's quite possible that large sections of the general public could change tack on that, as part of the growing momentum of rage/dissatisfaction against the political establishment (and the orthodoxy being promoted by the media). Not saying that the entire public will change position on this by any means, but those sections most dissatisfied by the current situation may begin to feel more militant for want of a better word, and the trade union movement itself may gain confidence to take a more progressive stance if it feels it can harness the energy such a rising tide. It's not exactly inspired leadership of course, but it's perhaps more in keeping with the historical public mood and expectations. The recent ICTU mass demo' was a positive in that respect.

    If you're referring to lack of trust in the union leadership by the union membership, I think you need to separate that group into two very distinct elements, those who are actively engaged with the union and those passive members who really are only making up the numbers because their place of employment requires / expects them to. The active members may distrust the leadership, but until they win over the apathetic passive membership to a process of change they're really sort of stuck with the existing status quo. Material circumstances such as increased pressure on terms and conditions, and a general public mood of militancy, will have the effect of politicising the passive membership, but we can't expect all of that dynamic to be leftwards, some of it will go rightwards as members reflect the growing divisions between those who buy and those who reject the orthodox economic narrative.

    Anyhow, it's a positive to see UNITE agitiaging against austerity. The measures they propose would appear to be echoed at this stage by a fairly broad Left grouping.
    I'm left confused by this. Do you trust the present Union leadership to mobilise effective opposition to the cuts ? What is the "orthodox economic narrative ?

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    I'm left confused by this. Do you trust the present Union leadership to mobilise effective opposition to the cuts ?
    "Trust" is probably an inappropriate word. Do I expect them to mobilise opposition? Maybe, eventually, if they feel they have run out of options (perhaps they're slow learners), and if they think there's a chance of fighting a battle which their membership will sign up to. Which is what I was getting at about the public mood, which is reasonably representative of the mood of the passive membership of the unions.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    What is the "orthodox economic narrative ?
    The ***** that passes for economic analysis in the Indo / IT / RTE etc., and the policies / strategy being pursued by the mainstream political parties. "Fix the banks", "recovery by deflating the economy", "strong export sector", blah blah. Not what you'll read on any left-leaning blog, including economists who know what they're talking about such as Michael Taft or the people at TASC.

    http://www.progressive-economy.ie/

    Or from Left political parties of course, incl, the WP, CP, SF, ULA etc.
    Last edited by LeftAtTheCross; 07-01-2011 at 09:46 PM. Reason: Add last sentence

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Quote Originally Posted by LeftAtTheCross View Post
    "Trust" is probably an inappropriate word. Do I expect them to mobilise opposition? Maybe, eventually, if they feel they have run out of options (perhaps they're slow learners), and if they think there's a chance of fighting a battle which their membership will sign up to. Which is what I was getting at about the public mood, which is reasonably representative of the mood of the passive membership of the unions.



    The ***** that passes for economic analysis in the Indo / IT / RTE etc., and the policies / strategy being pursued by the mainstream political parties. "Fix the banks", "recovery by deflating the economy", "strong export sector", blah blah. Not what you'll read on any left-leaning blog, including economists who know what they're talking about such as Michael Taft or the people at TASC.

    http://www.progressive-economy.ie/

    Or from Left political parties of course, incl, the WP, CP, SF, ULA etc.
    It seems to me that when action has been called for, people have turned out - there have been two demonstrations of 100,000 or thereabouts. There was working to rule, as well, but this was called off because of the Croke Park deal.

    I don't think people are apathetic - more frightened, sceptical, embarrassed, confused, frustrated at lack of action.....

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    Default Re: UNITE Propose Plan of Action to ICTU

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    I don't think people are apathetic - more frightened, sceptical, embarrassed, confused, frustrated at lack of action.....
    I'm not sure we can attribute any one dominant trend to the public mood yet other than dissatisfaction. The general election will be interesting in two senses, obviously as the definitive political poll on the opinions of the people, and then also after the election as the pressure relief valve kicks in and the dissatisfaction is channeled into the established mechanisms of dealing with that and effectively dampened, i.e. the media frenzy about the new political dawn, the first 100 days, the hyped expectations etc etc.

    The current mood may or may not make it over the hurdle of the election. The established political parties, the media, (and the union leadership) will do their utmost to convince people that a fresh start is required. The question is, once the media honeymoon wears off, once the chattering class become bored of their new subject matter and move gradually into attack mode, how easy will it be for the public mood to kick back into the high levels of dissatisfaction. Given the timing of the election, the petit mort thereafter, and the summer holidays kicking in after that, it'll be the run into the next budget really won't it.

    So, back to the original topic, developments like UNITE escalating the discussion within the union movement is good stuff, it acts against the dampening trends elsewhere.

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