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'Your Job is Yours as a Right. Fight and Fight Again for It!'
national | worker & community struggles and protests | feature Tuesday September 07, 2004 01:57 by seedot
The language of the IWU.
Two journalists from Indymedia went to meet Ray O'Reilly from the Independent Workers Union, along with a couple of IWU members who work in Dublin Bus. This article covers part of that interview, the discussion on the Irish Trade Union movement and its constituent parts.
"Your job is yours as a right." To read this in a trade union statement makes you feel like it must be labour history, not a letter drafted by the IWU to be sent to the Aer Lingus Workers about their current predicament. And yet Ireland's youngest union is the one that was smart enough to register the internet domain: union.ie and the letter is up on their website. They have overcome the main legal hurdle to establishing a viable trade union (a negotiating license) and have an evangelical belief in trade unionism that expresses itself in language that comes straight from the 19th century proletariat that gave birth to the movement. Ray talks of "...restoring the Trade Union movement as the organised arm and voice of working people."
On their website the IWU display the images of Connolly and Larkin, which is perhaps particularly justified given that they are possibly the only union using the language of Connolly and Larkin today. They see themselves as reclaiming the labour movement from the bureaucrats.
When Ray talks about Connolly and Larkin turning in their graves if they were to know of what became of the ITGWU (which merged into SIPTU), he focuses on the issues that have coloured many people's views of SIPTU , especially in the airport and their sweetheart deal in Luas. Unions that manage redundancies for state companies and weaken their membership by removing their right to strike bring out more than the cynicism that most of us feel, his language reflects the anger felt at the state of the movement. The obvious question about working within the existing structures focuses on the need to have a union that was not in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, which is classified as "an arm of the state."
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I am delighted to read and hear some sensible words from a union in Ireland, too long have we had to deal with corrupt and uncaring unions who's only aim seems to be to "look after themselves" and get special treatment.
It does not matter which union you belong to or even if you do not belong to one, this union needs support because the state and the other unions will do their best to kill this one off.
If this is allowed to happen then real trade unionism will be dead and buried forever, the government and the other unions will never allow another negotiating licence to be issued to another union and we will all have to pay the price for that by having our rights under the constitution and the laws of the land refused to us.
Remember through all of the problems and the illegal treatment of their members the IWU has not taken any industrial action, no picketing and is relying on the law to deal with these issues. The IWU seems to be behaving in a manner which can only inspire confidence in it's ability to represent it's members in a lawful, honest and well thought out manner and not to so do by using bully boy tactics.
Good Job and congrats to the IWU I will be joining.
On fighting for a job. Sorta cco-anarchist take on the whole work ethic thing.
Good idea having an independent union, will look up site and find out more info about joining etc. Just see that the photo of the info table is set up in the space in front of the Central Bank. May I suggest that you dont bother with that spot in the future and cross the river to Henry Street instead, so some real people will know about the union? The main crowd at the central bank spot are primarily punks from places with "Rath-", "Dun-" or "-rock" in the name, who are more concerned with keeping their mohawks and badges up to date than dealing with the real world.
The picture is from the Mayday rally at central bank, not just any old day. If you remember back to Mayday, DCTU ignominiously decided to call off their traditional march in case they might inconvenience the government's celebrations. When this excuse was scotched by the cancellation of the government's celebrations, they refused to march on the grounds that they didn't want to associate with the anarchist crazies - showing their utter willingness to lap up the propaganda of the capitalist media which was revealed to be utter bullshit on the day itself. So fair play to the IWU for showing up with their banner.
By the way, I remember on the day that the most recent job losses were announced at Aer Lingus and an IMPACT rep was interviewed on RTE. She started her piece by saying "we have to think about the people who will be left behind". Not the merest thought about actually fighting for the jobs it seems. I also remember IMPACT's role in the bin tax dispute when they took an abjectly pro-government line from the start and were overtly hostile to the campaign. I can well understand why IMPACT members might be a little dissatisfied with their representation!
I also remember seeing quite a few mohawks on mayday.
Updating badges - on the street - facing watercannon reality.
Anyway back to the point.
Up the Independent Workers Union.
surely only if you made it yourself
Militant TUs and full employment are not easy bedfellows.
Unlike the Wobblies who actually fought and died for real policies that shook the establishment such as the battle for a shorter working week, it is hard to see
exactly where they are that different to the existing 'Unions'.
What are they doing to bring Ireland up to the level of social protection enjoyed by such capitalist countries as Sweden and Germany? What are they doing about the lousy amount of holidays that Irish workers get? I dont see too much in this 'new' union to get excited about.