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Trade Unions and the loss of Integrity Ethics Transparency

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Tuesday January 15, 2013 15:55author by Comyn - Social Justice Report this post to the editors


Dublin 1913 to Dublin 2013

What have we learned? What changes can be made?

Dublin 1913: It was before World War I, Ireland had negotiated a form of Home Rule/self government but there was inequality with extremes in wealth and poverty, nationalism and British Rule created the environment for dissent and rebellion. James Larkin "Big Jim" represented the low skilled workers and William Martin Murphy, a Catholic businessman represented the newly forming middle class. William Martin Murphy owned the Irish Independent newspaper, and the Dublin United Tramway Company and was making inroads against the power of the former elites.

The power of the Unions and Croke Park I and 2 is an urgent matter for discussion by the plain people of Ireland. There is a discrepancy in the integrity, transparency and ethics we expect from our trade unions.

Health is a good place to start.

Can someone please explain how the Ireland can pay their consultants 12 times higher than their equivalents in Hungary and double that of their counterparts in Germany or the UK?

How many more people in other trade unions share the characteristics and self interest that are now evidenced in the IMO deal with their former 'trade union official' (as he described himself in 1997). Mr. George McNeice was the public face of the union through his tenure at the IMO. This man worked for the Department of Health as a civil servant for a brief time before joining the IMO based in Fitzwilliam Place Dublin 2. Each year we know he was lauded by the doctors and consultants attending the IMO's annual conference usually held in the Europe hotel in Killarney.

This supposedly unassuming low profile man, trade union official, was one smooth operator when it came down to negotiating his financial package as Chief Executive of the IMO. The facts as revealed in the Irish Mail on Sunday state that the former IMO President, Dr Cormac Macnamara RIP headed up the committee which approved George McNeices's over generous contract in 1993. George McNeice, CE, IMO, aged 51, recently claimed that he was entitled to a 'package' of £24 million. This package is said to have provided him with an annual bonus of up to 30% of his salary. This bonus was compounded each year. The cruel irony here is the claim of not knowing the details by the Remuneration Committee. Could this be so? In 2013 could it be possible that someone in the IMO could sanction such a spectacular financial package and yet nobody knew about it. No must be the answer because there are too many vested interests in the medical profession and their bureaucracy and hence the pyramid scheme scenario that sees Ireland's medical profession grossly overpaid for inadequate service.

Mr McNeice, his package, has been negotiated down to £9.7 million. But even this deal is shameful. This is a different financial scandal to those of the developers and bankers but it is linked to abuse of power, a form of narcissim and self interest and is equal to the financial scandals that must be dealt with. The HSE is a monolith of bureaucracy, an entity created by a few, which was no doubt better run under the auspices of the Department of Health.

Surely, others are aware and in turn are in receipt of substantial packages. Do we know? Do we care? Apparently doctors have resigned from the IMO and are seeking an inquiry into the governance of the IMO. This is a warning surely to the Unions to examine their practices.

Moving away from medical unions. What about the people who work for years for say Clerys. What do the unions really do to protect these people? They tend to change their contracts at will from permanent to part-time and then say no jobs exist and bye bye.

author by O'Malley - Observerpublication date Wed Jan 16, 2013 13:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree to a point with the above posting. Our trade unions especially SIPTU have created themselves into a cosy corporate organisation. O'Connor has a salary of £140 plus expenses, package and no doubt a good pension annually. Beggs is similar and Frank Connolly has become almost invisible in SIPTU.

Back to McNeices pay-out (£20 million+ negotiated down to £9.7 million). Of course this is another scandal - the sad thing is - the total silence from all quarters on this. Reilly, Minister for Ill-health was a committee member in the 1990's and one of the elite who sanctioned this payout. Where is the transparency - the ethics - the morals?

O'Malley (the alley cat)

author by Comyn - Observerpublication date Fri Jan 18, 2013 15:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Glad you agree but where is the reaction of the people to this scandalous data released Christmas week by the IMO which represents 5,000 unionised doctors. All claim to know nothing but this cannot be so. As always the doctors seem to be reacting once the horse! has bolted and on this occasion the horse age 51 named McNeice had to have his pay package negotiated down from £24 million to £9.7. This man, I believe is neither a doctor, a banker or for that matter a shamed developer, just a man who subtly negotiated his own financial deal, in a silenced way, as he moved from a civil service position to Chief Executive of the IMO - the Union for the medical profession.

Media proves exceptionally quiet about this travesty. Vincent Browne discussed the unions on Monday night in his TV3 programme, and nobody deemed it necessary to mention this scandal in the making. Thankfully today's Independent is taking a position and is worth reading. There sure are questions that Minister Reilly needs to answer like was he on the remuneration committee which approved the pay and pension deal for the IMO Chief Executives George McNeice (this ponzi plague that needs to be investigated to know just how much our Union officials are paid and the bias it thereby creates). Dr Reilly after all was President of the IMO in 2004-2005 hopefully making him and others privy to all financial information. The Independent heading reveals that the doctors have been 'aroused to anger' and aim to 'oust the union head and probe finances'. An extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) has been called. They seek to remove the interim Chief Executive Niall Saul. The plan is an investigation dating back 12 years into the financial and management of the IMO. Let us take the initiative now as suggested by O'Malley and question exactly what is the unions are at in this country.

Who received what packages in the IMO is the question? Quite a few appear to have their hands in the pie. According to the Independent:-

George McNeice: who negotiated his deal down from £20 million+ to £10 million pension with £1.5 m lump sum. (Imagine the return each year on this amount of capital and pension!)
Paul McKeown IMO President: a meagre £105,000 for a part-time role. (Imagine this after tax amount, and what the balance creates as income or wealth generative)
Niall Saul, IMO Interim Chief Executive: who receives a £60,000 retainer + top up
Joe Barry, Chairman of the IMO now dissolved remuneration committee who receives £105,000 for a part time role.

What is going on?

Cronyism and the semi-state has received a lot of attention on Indymedia (see link on latest comments) but there is little outcome as we witness the gravy train of what could possibly be described as insider dealing and overall corrupt and fraudulent pratices. Is one position core to a union like the IMO and others not sufficient) Why do some people like Mr Saul, Mr McNeice gain income from other sources related to their position on the IMO - are there no volunteers left in this country which faces nearly 500,000 people unemployed.

They say 4 in 5 in the public service are in unions while only 1 in 5 in the private sector are in the union. This alone speaks dividends as we see the underclass formation before are very eyes.

We need to be alert. Years ago people read the newspapers, they visited their local, they had the chat and were informed. The time is here to be informed again.


author by Chestnut - Justicepublication date Mon Jan 21, 2013 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What is it the plain people of Ireland really think about Unions?

The IMO is for the elitist group of 5,000 doctors and the package provided for former Chief Executive 51 year old Mr McNeice can only confirm to other mere mortals that there is one law for some and a completely other one for those self seeking careerist mentalities that includes the professions, the privileged high ranking civil servants, the media, the bankers, the developers and of course those double/treble dipping politicians who have gained from the pension gravy train. Add to this those MEP's and EU delegates who are equally privileged by the gravy train pensions et al and it is time to start raising questions.

Excellent article in the Sunday Times yesterday by Michael Clifford 'Time to derail the pension gravy train'.
A piece of sarcasm at its best but therein is a series of questions that people need to be asking. McNeice a now known self negotiator representing a small trade union (whose members are significantly high earners by European standards for the profession they represent). The article raises the point that Mr McNeice's sweetheart deal may even bankrupt the IMO. How could this be allowed to happen? What is the point of having a remuneration committee? What input had the present Minister for Health in relation to Mr McNeice's 'package'? These personal pension packages are seen as part of the elites entitlements and they put forward the argument - as protected by the Constitution. Michael Clifford quite rightly raises the point: 'No morality is applied to the issue. No sense of Justice.'

We can raise the question did McNeice do any wrong and the answer is possibly No. He saw the opportunities and he did not pause, he thought of his position as crucial and his needs - well the deal says it all. His pension pot was £25 million but the evidence of the reduction to £9.7 million suggests that when his sense of morality/legality was tested he was prepared to negotiate downwards. In 2008 this man was earning £493,000 a year. Added to this he received an amount of £60,000 from the IMO's financial arm. This raises the question did he have earnings from any other sources? His good fortune regarding his pension was that it was contracted to be a defined benefit scheme (now the majority of these schemes are defined contributions). As Clifford states: 'The critical difference is that the former guarantees the retirement income while the latter is dependent on the performance of contributions to the pension fund'.

We need urgently to look at pensions. Times have changed. 430,000 people are not working. We need fairer distribution

author by Comyn - Observerpublication date Tue Jan 22, 2013 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Those who have and those who haven't

Our NEETs, our lost generation, the 50% of the population who have no pensions and who are not likely to have such a luxury. We live in changing times and whereas actuaries worked on the basis of 13 years life beyond retirement, it is now 25 years+

What are we creating for the plain people of Ireland?

There has been a really gravy train for some as per the postings on this site, a gravy train which those of us today will pay for by contributing to the pension pots that sustain their pensions going forward. Consider the fact that a fair % of these elites are only in their 50's so we can ask the question given the fact that most will now live to their 90's and if not them their wives who will receive 50% of their pensions if they die, then it is clear that now we need to start thinking seriously about pensions and two tierism.

Michael Clifford article in Sunday Times with its subtle sarcasm is worth reading. He states, as we well know, "that services in health are well depleted. Yet through it all, a gold-plated pension pot, negotiated in a different world (Celtic Tiger land), remains immune to the times".

This begs the question of our State owned banks, in particular the AIB. The former boss, Eugene Sheehy, negotiated himself a pension in excess of £300,000 (what is the pension for this?). The bank was bailed out during this man's reign. Where is the common sense and reality. Bonuses used to related to performance! Okay, some say it was negotiated down to £250,000 but still this quite uncivilized.

NEETs. Moochers, these are words that will become stereotypes and if our media moves more right wing will be used to categorise non achievers. As unemployment rises amongst the young in Europe and in Ireland we need to embrace the culture of awareness that allows people to say No, we do not accept unfair and inequitable provisions that develop inequitable two tierism. This is what we used to pay subs to trade unions for but as now realise they cosied into the FF government mentality and they provided mainly for the public sector not the minnions of the private sector and now the time is here for them to share their spoils and foster equity.



author by O'Malley - Trade Unionspublication date Tue Feb 26, 2013 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For people working in the public service there is an article in the Irish Independent today.

It basically makes a simple comparison. All that is shared between a millionaire and a public service worker but then it states the real differential. The writers name is on request from the editor.

The main point is that the public sector between 2010 and with what is now under negotiation effectively takes a 25.5% hit on their pay packet.

Is this fair?

What about wealth tax?

What about increasing the higher tax rate?

author by fredpublication date Tue Feb 26, 2013 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the problem is that frontline staff doing real work on 30K or less are expected to take the same paycuts (or more) as highly paid civil servants > 100k. This is bullshit.

They should start with the overpaid paper pushers and leave frontline staff on lower rates alone.

But they don't do this because there is a link between politicians ludicrous pay levels and higher paid civil servant pay. So they always hit the less well paid public service workers instead.

The fact of the matter is our politicians or highest paid paper pushing public servants cannot justify their rates of pay or fat pensions compared to other countries.

But our frontline staff are not overpaid and work hard for their pay.

We never hear the troika setting ruthless guidelines for those higher paid paper pushing leeches and politicians do we? Curious that considering the glaring per capita bloated salaries they receive compared to other countries. I guess that's their cut of the bankster robbery.

public service pay should be reduced in a recession, but it should start with the lazy fatcats and politicians at the top, creaming off > 100k (sometimes nearer 200K including allowances) not the hard working average waged frontline staff at the bottom. They should be left alone.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Thu Feb 28, 2013 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors


I agree with most of the points made by you. Let us not forget people are the core of trade unions. They pay or may I say their fees pay the high salaries of O'Connor, Beggs and probably a hundred more plus trade union staff that are afloat on a massive gravy train. Take for example the staff at Clerys before Christmas. Shafted is being too polite. Yet, nobody stood up to the Gordon Brothers who bought over and said our workers short-term hours or the full-time staff have rights. Graham Macken of SIPTU informed the staff at Clerys that he would fight for every cent they were owed in back-pay. He also told them that he had lodged a case at the Labour Court. In the last two weeks I checked the Labour Court diaries and what do I find Fred, nothing. Can someone please explain this to me? I don't want to list the salaries and the bonuses of the people who are there on behalf of the ordinary working man and woman but let us be realistic there is a two tier system in Irish society now. As one man said to me the other day, Brian we don't live in a society now, we live in an economy and a failed one at that.

I am not a fan of Vincent Browne but like your point he keeps stating that the small man is hit every time while the upper paid on £100,000 plus per year remain intact. Yes, they may take some hits with levies but because of the massive money they are on it is only a tickle in their armoury. We need to get back to the core values of what trade unions are meant to be. I will repeat one more point, we can point fingers at O'Connor and Beggs and the rest for the high salaries but at the end of the day it is the workers who put them there and it should be the workers who can pull them out if they have the balls to stand up and ask the appropriate questions as to what is really going on in a two tier class based society.

Brian Flannery

author by Ex Clerys Department Store worker - Redundant leaguepublication date Fri Mar 01, 2013 13:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It now has come to the fore that Gordon Brothers were in talks with Clerys in 2007, if not before. Also to peoples' disbelief SIPTU were well aware of the meetings which took place. I has a small lump sum paid into my account on the 20th of October last year unknown to me. I was called into the managers office and told my services were no longer required and with a heavy heart he told me I had to go - I know one woman who got her notice by text. Others I don't know because the motive and purpose of management and unions was to divide and conquer. After over 30 years in SIPTU I feel deeply let down and I would also like to say Brian Flannery is correct above when he mentioned about the labour court hearing that never happened. Graham Macken of SIPTU called us into a meeting on two occasions at Liberty Hall and told us the fight of re-deployment will continue. It is now March 1st 2013 and I have not heard anything from Mr Macken in five months. I know one woman, when she criticized Macken from the floor at one meeting, was told she was out of order and bullied down. At the two meetings I also want to say we were treated like sheep and asked for our membership cards. In the 30+ years I paid into SIPTU I believed I had some level of protection but how terribly wrong I was.

The sale to Gordon brothers at the discount of debt included severing the employment arrangements of existing staff and the Unions tailored the deal. When I lost my job I also was under the assumption I had left SIPTU but to my astonishment at Christmas I discovered they were still taking money from my account. This to me is blatant wrong and shows how much priority they give the ordinary working man. For SIPTU it is money money money. I now have to get State benefit to supplement the small pension I am due while O'Connor Macken and the rest talk the talk from the ever ending gravy train.

Ex Clery's worker

author by Disillusioned Siptu member - Public sector publication date Tue Mar 05, 2013 13:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At the moment Croke Park II is on the agenda. The groups at the table are as follows:

Teachers' Unions

These are the people who sit around the table on behalf of the 1.6 million workers in this country. The outcome is definitely unknown. Let us face facts now there could be a break-down in talks at any given time. My point is simple: listening to Kenny, Howlin and Rabbitte, the frontline workers will be screwed yet again. I ask how much more pain can these workers including myself take. Reading the above posting in relation to Clerys the hope I have at present is not a shining light but sadly a dim one.

author by O'Malley - Trade Unions - Ethics/Integritypublication date Sat Mar 09, 2013 15:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, its good to see a list of who represents who?

The public sector have their unions but the private sector are struggling while the public sector are saying our salaries have already been cut back, we are going to have to work longer hours, and Sunday out of hours is no longer as lucrative for us. Times are tough but we need to ask the question how we compare to the other peripheral countries. The Troika impose sanctions and these are stringent on public service but Ireland it appears may be ahead of their counterparts based on the Bertie Ahern government who created Croke Park 1 and a possible over indulgence in rewards for public sector workers. In Greece, the crisis has resulted in three generations in certain cases now having to live under the one roof. We are not here yet?

George McNeice surely merits more attention. A man of the age of 51 and a IMO union official merits a cut-back in pension rights/deal from £24 million to just under £10m and the people say nothing.

Pensions and the private sector have become a luxury for the most privileged. They say only 50% of the private sector have pensions. The rest are struggling and without this necessity.

Who represents them?

We know that the Public service pensions are gilt edged. What about the Irish examiner/the Sunday Post - the most recent of the companies going into receivership/examination. What happens these pension funds? Who is really the protector?

author by Comyn - Citizenpublication date Thu Mar 14, 2013 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

5 years on from the peak of Celtic Tiger Ireland and too many union representatives are indulged in their own priviliges achieved through their connections with Fianna Fail, IBEC and other employers to cushion both themselves and their members with the benefits of Croke Park 1 which resulted in our public sector being pushed way ahead of their equivalent counterparts in the EU in pay, hours worked, allowances and pension benefits. It is Troika time now and they identified this preferential treatment and hence Croke Park II is under instruction to pull the public service pay and working conditions back in line with their equivalent in Europe.

What is surprising is that so few in Ireland have a view or a commitment to speak up? The private sector is being decimated and unemployment is near 450,000 with many more having emigrated.

Some of the Union represenative bodies need to be discussed more openly to alert people to what can go on in the bureaucracy of these Unions. This site has written about the IMO and George McNeice - the man who somehow negotiated himself at the age of 51 (back in 1984 he started to do so) into a pension deal worth £24 million. Thankfully for the taxpayers of Ireland, it was re-negotiated down to just under £10 million. How many more people are hiding in the Union bushes but have similar deals. Do we know? Do we care? Should we know? - Yes, we should. Our budget deficit is running at £1 billion per month and we need to cut expenditure further and we need to know who has basically exploited their positions in the public sector to extract exceptional payments and pensions far in excess of their European counterparts.

The Irish Medical Organisation deserves a little attention here: Since this McNeice revelation, this once powerful union is now riven with members who are discontent. Their members are squabbling. It was recently reported in an article by Terence Cosgrave that "Even without that catalyst (George McNeice deal), there were many concerns from many members in recent years that the organisation had strayed from its original purpose of representing doctors and had become increasingly focused on financial services for doctors instead'.

This is the question that unions such as Siptu, Unite, Impact, INMO and many others need to be asked by their members. Too many people like the staff at Clery's, the Burlington hotel are finding themselves out of work, with little are no representation by their unions to provide options for their future.

Is there a little hope from a Public Sector member? Today's Irish Independent has a headline "Official on £250,000 a year demands wage restraint".

Colm Kepple reports that Stefan Gerlach, deputy head of the Central Bank, has said that Ireland's high standard of living is seriously impacting on its ability to be more competitive. This lack of competitiveness impacts on its need to rebuild economic growth. The deficit remains too high and must be dealt with, according to this Swedish economist. According to Mr Gerlach in his submission to the Eurosystem Competitiveness Network meeting in Dublin: "Wage moderation must occur in the public sector, not only to improve the budget balance, but because this also can influence wage costs in the private sector, and this has indirect competitiveness-improving effects".

The moral is that private sector is hammered, those tax exiles have long gone and we need to examine further where cutbacks can be made. We need negotiators to urge (based on Cyprus deal) further debt relief via the ESM and wage restraint is needed so long as businesses continue to go bankrupt and people lose their jobs.

author by O'Malley - Trade Unions publication date Sun Mar 24, 2013 15:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The medical profession, the elites of society, have their representative Union body called the IMO. These elites were caught off guard as McNeice the former Chief Executive of the IMO negotiated himself (and who knows if there are more like him in other trade unions) a deal which had to be hammered down from £24 million to £9.7 million for a man aged just 51. This man, quite shockingly, is now seeking more namely his entitlement to £9,000 worth of VHI payments and a painting supposed to be worth several thousand - he is availing of the technicality that although he ceased work in December, his employment is not terminated until the end of March 2013, hence the claim for VHI and the painting.

Valerie Hanley's article in the Mail on Sunday is a must read. Unions are supposed to represent their workers but this pay deal/retirement otucome for a former Chief Executive should place all members of trade unions in the questioning mode of just what these trade union officials are paid and what deals they have negotiated for themselves in relation to their retirement packages? It is time for transparency, it is too late when the Union has to call an EGM because members are disgruntled when they find out certain levels of authority within the unions are being paid way in excess of their 'worth'.

It merits consideration in these austere times of sacrifice for so many, that other elites can ring fence such deals for themselves. According to Valerie Hanley's article, the negotiated deal from 2003 is that this man, age 51, leaves with a lump sum of £1.5 million, a pension pot of £4.5 million and a further £3.75 million to be paid over the next 16 years. He will receive £200,000 each year from 2016 to 2021 and thereafter £250,000 from 2021 to 2032. If this 'deal' had not come to the fore last year, this man would have received a pension of nearly £330,000 a year. Add to this the deals negotiated by 'disgraced' bankers, former Taoisigh and politicians and the word shame on them is worth considering.

Public service, Government, trade unions officials are forging ahead of the private sector. Their packages are about earnings in the now but with provision for retirement. With people living considerably longer these people now have an advantage on those in the private sector (some 50% who have no pension provisions). It was recently reported in the UK media that a policeman retiring in his fifties could easily live longer on his pension draw-down than the years worked. We cannot sustain this and especially if we consider the lack of transparency about a retirement package for a man aged but 51 whose role was that of a Chief Executive of a trade union.

Ethics and Hippocrates 'Do no harm'. How could it happen that so many members of a trade union associated with doctors were so misinformed? Maybe it is because, he was a good negotiator on the doctors behalf and hence they are paid so much more than their EU counterparts. This might explain why a hip operation in Ireland is considerably more expensive than the same operation by the NHS.

Times are tough. Inequality needs to be monitored closely and the chasm between rich and poor must invoke a sense of morality and duty.

author by Comyn - Justice publication date Tue Apr 02, 2013 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Teachers' Unions

Eddie Hobbes stood head to head with a Union Official. The message was about luxurious pension funds that some Union employees/executives have secured for themselves through negotiations and in particular via the benchmarking procedures of Croke Park I which now creates the platform and criteria for Croke Park II.

O'Malley, you clearly state the details of George McNeice, a trade union official and former Chief Executive of the IMO who secured for himself an elaborate pension contract in excess of £20 million which was negotiated down to £9.7 m. The latest news is that he claims the IMO is to pay £10,000 for his voluntary health insurance and to forward him 'the' painting valued at several thousand pounds which is supposed to still hang in the IMO office, which he says belongs to him. If this is an indication of what a man can do in a small union like the IMO, surely we need to know how transparent the workings of the above unions and any others left un-named? The IMO is nothing other than a hot bed of pure intrigue about what quiet negotiation is all about and suggests that as long as McNeice was feathering the nests of the elite medical profession - consultants in particular, nobody was going to ask questions. This no doubt explains why Irish consultants are near the highest paid in the EU.

An oversight and someone uploads the 2011 accounts of the IMO onto the website and surprise surprise the accounts stated the pension scheme was under funded....warning signs which people need to be ever watchful of. It went on to say that an actuarial review was being carried out. The interesting point here is that the information was very quickly removed from the website and a new set of accounts appeared. It stated that the IMO operated a defined contribution scheme for its employees and this raised the question as to how it could be under-funded. The overlap was that Mr McNeice resigned and he was prepared to re-negotiate his package down from £20+ m to £9.7 m. Dr Paul McKeown relayed to the members of the Union that this £9.7 million had to be paid to avoid legal action. Again here we should ask why not go to the Courts? It will be interesting now that the IMO have said they will carry out an retrospective investigation into the runnings of the IMO. Media thankfully - The Sunday Business Post, have provided us with details about McNeice's perks including courses in Harvard University in the US, conferences in the USA, Australia, Souoth Africa and South America. Needless to say he travelled first/business class and had even used private jets on IMO business - they have no details about the frequency. In the far away distance, it makes one think of the perks in FAS. We need to examine the culture of then to appraise the true austerity of the now and workers who are now being penalised with property taxes, potential water charges, income taxes, household charges etc. We talk about cutting expenditures of the ordinary working people, let the pay packagesand pension deals of the Unions, IBEC, and other representative bodies be transparent so that a sense of equity prevails.

The IMO culture in the organisation was the selected few loyal people but a high turnover in staff and as SBP quotes the "working environment was very difficult" which if there was a whistleblower within would suggest a strong culture of bullying. The selected few were guaranteed a upwardly mobile payment package especial during the Celtic Tiger years. As stated in earlier postings, McNeice is not doctor but has a partner who is a doctor and there is one teenage child. He started off as executive officer in 1979, moving up to senior executive officer position in 1984. Later that year he took up the post in the IMO. He worked as an industrial relations officers for a number of years before taking over the role of Chief Executive in 1993.

Why did the IMO agree to pay the £9.7 m to a man aged 51, with payments starting when he is 52? How could he have acquired a fund of £20+ m which was the original figure he sought. Could it be related to the fact the IMO just could not afford to pay him what he had negotiated for himself in December 2012. Could it be that when the members discovered the amount, they sought an EGM. The £10 million became a bad investment only this time it was not the markets that caused it to evaporate.

McNeice as reported before departed with £1.5 million lump sum, a pension pot worth £4.5 m and a further £3.75 million to be paid over the next 16 years. This £3.75 million gives him £200,000 per year 2016-21 and £250,000 per year from 2021-2032. The man was 51 years old when he retired early. The IMO is a small trade union and if this is indicative of the packages secured by others in McNeices parallel universe, there is a need to ask questions, there is a need for people with a moral conscience to come forward as whistleblowers.

Pension funds and defined contributions or otherwise need to be understood. The people in Waterford Glass had contributed for years and what happened? Staff at Clery's worked there for years and what happened? All the people who worked in the building industry - what happened their pension funds?


author by O'Malley - Trade Unionspublication date Thu Apr 04, 2013 16:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The IMO is representative trade union body for the medical profession. As pointed out in the previous posting the deals secured for its Chief Executive Georrge McNeice, aged 51, are remarkable, yet nobody seems to care, in fact nobody even wants to comment. Entire industries have been wiped away over the last years, in particular the construction industry and there are people who have no provision for their daily needs let alone the pensions secured by trade unionists and their coterie of members in particular medical consultants.

Shockingly, today's Independent cites that more than 128 former HSE workers (note the word worker) receive in excess of £100,000+ pensions but then go on to say the majority of these who receive these "Gold-Plated" pensions are medical consultants. The average pension is £124,654 which is £2,400 a week. This does not take account of their choice to remain in lucrative private practice. It is no wonder, Irish consultants are paid significantly higher than their European counter-parts and that the Troika are now asking questions. We can go further and rebuke the Troika for not highlighting their concerns a lot sooner but then the IMO, the connections with George McNeice as Chief Executive, the links with Minister Reilly, were too strong for even the Troika to penetrate or so it appears. Now, the Troika are primed and they now want a monthly report from the Government so they can identify stringent efforts and outcomes to rein in overpending in the health sector. In the US there is a change in assessment about performance of consultants, they are rewarded not on the span of their career but in the narrower range of effectiveness and compliance with cost benefit. This suggests a re-evaluation of the pension equation presently in place.

Earlier postings have listed the number of trade unions in Ireland. What does the Troika expect from them? The IMO scandal, which receives little attention indicates that the power of one can work and mis-information on sets of accounts can be retrieved and people motivated to seek out perceived injustices or unacceptable payments to former members of staff. The IMO stand chastened and an external organisation has been asked investigate what exactly has been going on in this trade union body over the period 1993-2012. They have been directed to look into the awarding of contracts, into third party consultancy arrangements, expenses payments and most importantly into the nominations to boards. The emphasis is a call for better communications with membership. Well if this applies to the IMO and the span of investigation is 1993-2012, all unions should be subject to similar questioning by their union membership.

The divide between private sector and public sector is creating a chasm of pure chaos and inequality. Psychiatry is the Cinderella of the medical profession and yet it provides for the most neglected group of vulnerable people who suffer at the hands of the professions ineptitude. Yet, one reads today in the Independent that the title Clinical Director for a psyhiatrist for the HSE North East grants a lump sum of £385,772, for another in the same area receives £381,778, while yet a third clinical director attached to another HSE area received £380,170. Because of the titles and additional duties they received additional lump sums and were paid £50,000 extra to income. Why? Psychiatry in this country is a shambles and the damage has been done on their watch.

Last year, 2012 the HSE who provides for a small coterie of elitist top ranking medical consultants and certain public service employees gratuities amounting to £174 m. The Troika will not sanction this going forward. But what do people say about now and the funding of these enormous pensions especially now that people live so much longer. Take the age of 70 when a consultant retires, or worse again, take George McNeice having negotiated is £20 m+ package re-negotiated to £9.7m but he choosing the exit age at 52. Now people live decades longer and it is not uncommon for doctors to live well into their 90's. We are placing huge commitments on our young population. Brendan Howlin has a function and he has a capacity (if not a moral duty) to make changes. Perhaps as Mary Lou McDonald has suggested, he should act now and he always can say the Troika gave him no other option.

Union membership fees have been hammered surely by the loss of jobs especially in the construction sector, the retail sector. People who worked for places like Clery's or the Burlington Hotel for decades paid their contributions but when the going got tough, they just lost their jobs and the reality is the unions failed to fight their cases. Private equity groups have bought in but they have a new slate and no commitments to full-time contracts of employment. This is the two tierism that breeds inequality and the public sector presently is milking the system at the expense of the private sector. There comes a time when it is the duty of all people to re-establish a moral compass, to look at a Scales of Justice which is way off balance and seek to redress that sense of balance.

O'Malley (a bit of an alley cat)

author by Chestnut - Trade Unions Ethics Integrity & Questionspublication date Sat Apr 13, 2013 15:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why the silence? Where are the questions? How did this happen? 5,000 members of the IMO have nothing to say. Could it be something to do with the fact that the IMO has now confirmed that 'the stipends paid to presidents of the organisation over recent years have been linked to the pay of the chief executive'.... what does this suggest but another cosy cartel of elites feathering their own nests at the expense of others. If this is so, what is the case with other trade unions in Ireland? This means that the president of the IMO was allowed to receive 25% of Mr McNeice's £493,000 (negoiated down amount) while holding on to their State salary for their period in office.

Thankfully Constantin Gurdgiev is not blinkered and albeit he does not relate to any trade union in particular he does raise questions that need answer in his article in the current edition of the Village. The article is titled 'Unions locking out the Young and dynamic' and it is essential reading especially as Croke Park II is under negotiation. Constantin Gurdgiev writes that over the last 15 years, the Unions (and witness the IMO deal, I would suggest) and their leadership 'have become firmly embedded in the corporatist structure of the Irish state'. Pay, pensions, benefits, are their priority as distinct from 'their relevance to our changing economy and society'. The unions did not act to stop the rampant inflation in those unionised sectors of the state such as health insurance, health services, energy, transport, and education. These sectors received favourable treatment and benefits versus so many other sectors particularly in the private sector. What we have now are Unions that have consented to a 'two-iter public-sector with incumbent workers collecting the benefits of job security and higher pay, and the incoming workers collection lower pay and virtually no promotion opportunitiies'.

What have our young and dynamic people to say to the pension pots (£3-4 million) that are needed to sustain bankers, politicians, union leaders on incomes way in excess of £100,000 and payable at onset age £50+. People are living longer and this is creating the 'us and them' in new dimensions of immorality and inequality.


author by O'Malley - Observerpublication date Thu Apr 18, 2013 16:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Disillusionment for the public service workers and no easy cash collection of £300 m plus, needed this year, more next year and for years going forward, to pay our debts forever compounding the interest daily, weekly, monthly annually.

There is what is known as 'compassion fatigue'. It appears that we are neatly within the category i.e. those in the public service who see themselves as 'privileged' and 'entitled' and who have no empathy for those battered and beaten in the private sector, for over 6 years now. Will there be a Croke Park III? Maybe not. Why? The option is mooted for a 7% across the board deduction in public sector pay. What if this occurs? Then, the indications are ultimately strikes. However, the reality is we must meet the debts and take responsibility as a country because we have pledged to do so. Compassion fatigue must be challenged and it is time for people to look at a broader picture, to study alternatives, the vision is tunnel focus by leaders in the Irish Trade Unions that have their own vested interests, which we need to know a lot more about.

Is there another way? Prime Time heralded the approaches of the Fire Brigade union man who rightly targeted a new approach - that of looking for savings within. This was supported by Sir Gerry Robinson formerly involved in tackling the NHS crisis, who again suggested the importance of seeking savings and equally important of seeking ideas from every person within the business entity as to how to retify the deficits with common sense solutions. Savings in public sector (and particularly in the HSE) has to be core to resolving the budget deficit. It is not possible to deal with a deficit from insufficient income without cutting expenditures and that is done by cutting wages or making savings. The "Savita case" is highlighting just how much inefficiency and mis-management occurs in the HSE and it is a statement to workers to be more creative in how best to provide proper health services with ethics and common sense to the core. The IMO, as highlighted in earlier postings, had deviated far from the best interests of their lower tier members and it is time that the new man at the helm changes the culture, and let him start with amending remuneration with immediate effect.

Intrinsic to the Union mindset and its interconnectedness with employers, there is a two tierism that creates bias, it is the union management and what is acceptable in pay, expenses, pensions, trips abroad, even Harvard courses for them versus those who pay their union dues and what the leaders deem suffice for them. Citizen Journalism is about the kernel of freedom of expression and it is quite unbelievable that the privileges of McNeice as highlighted in the previous postings is not creating impetus to enquire into what is really happening with Union management in Ireland. What we do know is that if you work in the hotel industry, in retail, in lower echelons of the Civil service, redundancy means no more subscriptions with immediate effect to the Union coffers but most importantly no further support from the Unions to help you back on the road to employment. What does this really say? Dead in the water is what comes to mind. Unions are saying, keep us secure in our positions but forget about the concept of workers going forward - how stupid and self seeking they really are, there is no vision and this is disturbing.

Nearly 500,000 people are out of work, many of these are in mortgage arrears, studies now reveal that where people encounter long periods of being unemployed in their twenties/early thirties that this has negative mental health outcomes when they get older. We have a significantly higher level of youth unemployment and we are doing nothing about it. What is worse is that our Unions don't seem to care about the unemployed and in particular our young people. We need to voice this. Enterprise can be fostered and ideas can be created to nurture enterprise (just look to Silicon Valley or Singapore for that matter) but in the absence of encouragement we are talking about dissent, apathy and anomie.

The Village - Constantin Gurdigiev is worth reading. The challenge is there for the people who are excluded by the Union elites to establish their case. His challenge: 'Liberty Hall must shake off the ethos of its corrupting proximity to state power and re-discover its grass roots'.

It is not fair to the young people of our Island of Ireland that 'non-meriotocratic employment in the public sector will also mean continued emigration of younger workers with internationally marketable skills'

He goes on to say: 'Marking the centenary of the 1913 lockout, the Irish Trade Union movement needs a serious and deep rethink of both its raison d'etre and its modus operandi. Otherwise the movement risks being locked out of society itself as the irrelevant and atavistic remnant of the Celtic Tiger and Social Partnership'.

Time for the public sector who fail to acknowledge the plight of the private sector over the last 6 years to wake up and smell the coffee. We need to make savings, we need to cut expenditure and the time is now.


author by Unemployed ...publication date Thu Apr 18, 2013 17:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Most Irish people wish the Germans would stop funding overpaid Irish Public Sector.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions & Integritypublication date Tue Apr 30, 2013 13:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unemployed. Agree with you. The public sector is bloated and the trade unions are responsible for a lot of the excess,

Today's Independent has a small piece that all people should know about SIPTU and there was a small piece in the Sunday Business Post.

This is 'need to know time' for the taxpayers of Ireland and the citizens. We expect integrity at every level of the public service and it appears to be far down the agenda.

Ferghal O'Connor's piece headed 'Siptu fund cost taxpayers more than £3 million' is a good place for us to start.

A Siptu official's details have been identified on bank documentation - the person is a trustee to the account.

The fund (at a net cost to the taxpayers of £3.5 m) is a fund controlled by a number of former SIPTU officials since 2002. This is according to a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General. It is reported that both the Department of Health and the HSE, paid into the fund.

More worryingly it is stated "No formal system of accounting for fund transactions was put in place"

Is this about corruption? What do people feel about privileges to members of union staff of such generous proportions?

author by O'Malley - Labour Day: A paltry few turned up @ Parnell Squarepublication date Sun May 05, 2013 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nobody seems to care about the SIPTU fund that cost the taxpayers more than £3 million. Integrity has become subsumed by greed and entitlement by those who once fought for the rights of workers and who stood beside the workers. Not any longer.

2002 is 11 years ago. The fact stands that a number of State bodies provided £4 million to a "FUND" between 2002 and 2009. It is reported these State bodies failed to exercise effective oversight of the fund and the relevant application. There was no accountability yet substantial payments were made to this fund by the Public this rampant disregard for the law and the fiduciary trust the taxpayers expect from the public sector?

Is it acceptable that "In effect the fund may have acted as a mechanism for public bodies to avoid unused money allocated for partnership purposes being surrendered back to the Exchequer at year-end".?

McNeice, the IMO - the union for the medical professionals is a frightening case in point. Benchmarking, public sector/trade union liaisons need to be challenged now, not in 10 years time, while the Troika demand austerity and it is up to the citizens to identify and delete wasteful but costly practices by the 'elites's who emerged during our Celtic Tiger blitz. It is these people who retire with the large pensions which are guaranteed. There is a generational trap occurring in Europe and the UK. The large numbers of young people unemployed are questioning the privileges of those now retired. In the UK it has become probable that a policeman who retires at 50 years of age, will receive more income from his pension fund, than he ever contributed in the first place. People are living longer and the actuaries are now challenged because this pension equation cannot work. People need to start thinking now otherwise too many will have these privileged pensions for decades on the backs of new younger people.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions and Integrity: Waste needs attention v STRIKESpublication date Sat May 11, 2013 15:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Most Irish people wish the Germans would stop funding overpaid Irish Public Sector. Parasites' by Unemployed raises many questions. What really initially comes to mind is Bus Eireann and the strike tomorrow Sunday and the fact that the powers that be have facilitated the main executive of the company to move between Ireland and Dubai? How? Why? When supposed to be one year ago? Why have the trade unions not tackled management about this absolute farce? How could a company be expected to cover the huge deficits, let alone be on a potential path to profitability? Unemployed, you are right about the public sector but the trade unions are their allies and are busy playing the game of running with hounds and hunting with the elites. We cannot expect the Troika to facilitate us further until they become satisfied that our public sector is streamlined and effective in accordance with Germany, the lead player.

Over £1 billion excess a month is the debt to Ireland Inc and rising fast ie in real terms when interest is basically compounding on existing debt. The balance sheet on the income side is drawing from all initiatives especially the 2013 Gathering and yet the short-termism prevails and the trade unions are to the fore with their sabotage tactics of 'hit the tourists' and that will make the Government respond! So simple yet so complex. The fact is the waste factor in public sector must be identified and expugned because if this does not happen, income, earnings, investments contributed by potential 'Robin Hoods' will only be paid into a big black hole with little or no value to Ireland.

Tax evasion or the milder form of tax avoidance will be up for mention at the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh. Well done Minister for Social Protection (a Chartered Accountant, by profession) for being the first Cabinet Minister in Ireland to have the courage, the ethics, the morality and integrity to highlight U2's decision to move its 'publishing arm to the Netherlands - as part of an attack on the "scandal" of tax avoidance'. This took place in 2006 and yet the plain people of Ireland fail to ask if there is not an element of hippocrisy that U2 and so many others could reduce their level of loyalty to Ireland for a few 'lousy bucks'. What arguments can they put forward? These 'Artists' are not the like of Starbucks or Google who are attracted to Ireland specifically related to tax breaks but who create jobs, because mainly we speak English, we are members of the EU and are population are educated (at least to date anyway). U2 like so many other artists were cushioned to their Fame Status by the infrastructure of Ireland Inc and the tax breaks introduced by Charles J Haughey RIP - former Fianna Fail Taoiseach and minister to several portfolios. The later decision to cap the exemption at £250,000 saw the decision by U2 to move to the Netherlands and since this deep economic crisis in Ireland, they have not sought to return to our Exchequer! Shame on all who flew the coup. Redeem yourselves and pay tax in Ireland.

Ireland is in dire need of some 'Robin Hood' characters who will willingly contribute but we cannot expect this to happen unless our 'cloth is cut to measure' and our home grown artists, entrepreneurs, Forbes Wealth list people have the integrity to contribute to the Irish exchequer and not some foreign tax haven which ensures that they have effective tax rates ranging from nil to 4%. This is where our overly indulged trade unions need to interact. These tax exiles, like the Troika, want to see value for money in the public sector and particularly the HSE and this is about making the parasites pro-active in the recovery of Ireland Inc. It is time for transparency and a moral compass. Well said Minister Burton. It is time that the agenda of the G8 summit to be held in Co. Fermanagh next month will be focusing on 'considering the issue of "exceptionally aggressive" tax avoidance and tax planning'.


author by Blake - Trade Unions & Integritypublication date Fri May 17, 2013 16:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Take the Scales of Justice at Dublin Castle - her eyes are covered because She is trying to take both sides of an argument and seeks to achieve justice. But this scales is way out of synch in the Ireland of now. There are token gestures that justice is sought in the public good but then one asks about the abundance of white collar purified crime that seems to have its own court of justice which says, you did wrong, so what we will do is because you are a member of the trade union or the like of FAS for that matter, we will rap your knuckles by demoting you a grade down the employment scale. We will not involve the Gardai so there is no case going to the DPP and the reality is we all say, yes, this is okay. But is it? Where does the power rest? It seems to be in the Unions and the elites of the public sector. Nobody asks the question about the IMO and the reduction deal done from £24 million to £9.7 million. What about Why? Could it have been that there were no funds left in the account to pay the balance and hence the negotiation and acceptance by McNeice. We are not saying that there is wrong done but we need transparency and honesty.

Balance is what we seek to achieve. We know that there is massive amounts of social welfare fraud and that Joan Burton's department is clamping down on rogues who abuse this system. For people to move away from the black economy mindset, justice must be achieved by tackling all elements where corruption is entrenched. The Herald on May 15th 2013 highlighted the case of a man who falsely collected the Job Seeker's allowance of £188 using his brother's social welfare card. Clearly this is an offence and illegal. His case cited that he was a chronic alcoholic and the 53 year old pleaded guilty to 9 counts of 'inducing another to make a payment of Job Seeker's allownance', using a card in another's name.....between August 2007 and November 2011. This man awaits sentence. The amount collected by him was £43,000.....Yes. He committed a serious crime. But the question is:

Is there one law for this man and his type of criminal and a completely different one for others!

What about SIPTU the HSE - £4 million fund? People need to know why?

author by Comyn - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Fri Jun 21, 2013 16:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Troika are reported to have honed in on the Department of Social Protection and lack of performance. We approach a figure of 500,000 people out of work, not to mention the part-timers whose hours are slashed, pay reduced, and rights obliterated. FAS, once a successful model named ANCO, became so smug in their own narcissism that they lost the ability, the morals, the principles and integrity to create opportunities for people in the workplace. The community employment initiative worked well at the beginning but as we know when elitist privileged cultures emerge, over time it affects all and always to the detriment of those most vulnerable. We await, 5 years on from the crisis and from the hands-on investigative initiative of Senator Shane Ross into the totally unacceptable behaviour of the ruling elites in FAS, the new lean machine called Solus. We are waiting and meantime the list of unemployed is rising.

The unemployment problem doesn't just rest with the inadequacies of Social Protection under the auspices of Minister Joan Burton. What are the trade unions doing for those who were once employed by them, those who monthly paid their union dues and who are the contributors of the 30 million euros plus that SIPTU have rolling over in the bank. Did their rights die the day they were forced by the economic crisis into unemployment? The construction sector is decimated, many have emigrated, as they have generation after generation in times unemployment. What about those in the retail sector who have been 'fired' in order to create positions based on the part-time model and no employer obligations model? The unions and their elites are shy to refer to these people as they negotiate with Government to feather their own existing working members and in particular those in the public sector.

Trade Unions: the construction sector was your bread and butter for decades. Before the celtic tiger, the unions benefited because Ireland had to cater for social housing provision, which now is replaced by people on the social housing list with basically no or little access to homes. What have you done to recompense these people who are your creditors? Where are the job programmes to upskill, re-skill. Their contributions are the same kind of investments as the union dues paid by present day members. It is your duty to represent these people now. Experience shows me that you dismiss these people the day they lose their jobs. Shame on you.

This year of 2013, the anniversary of the Trade Union movement, it would be beneficial for you to consider what the ITGWU did for their workers in 1913 and going forward.

Slush Funds: Wow. What are these? Could they be 'savings for a rainy day'. Slush funds used to conjure up images of greedy private sector executives making provision, for privileges they deemed necessary for their own luxuries, but would allude the keen eye of the young auditors whose job was to audit the books of these private companies. We know now based on the tribunals, the media, programmes like TV3 Vincent Browne and many other sources that the auditors too became immersed in the fraudulent culture that consumed Celtic Tiger Ireland and they failed dismally to put the breaks on massive amounts of now alleged and actual corruption. The issue now, is what have we learned? It appears not a lot because Slush funds are in the news again, only this time, it is SIPTU and the HSE.
Do we have a Fraud office in Ireland? We definitely have the CAB. Are they so over worked that their services are not required and cases that could be routed to the DPP for assessment are waived?

The IMO and George McNeice surely merits more attention. Based on the foregoing postings, the pension pot for this man, aged 50, is beyond reason for a man who is basically a union official. The inequalities created by such an enormous pay-out has to reflect on the inequalities that create two tier payment for consultants resulting in the many young people educated for medicine in Ireland, (costing at least £90,000 a year) emigrating while the waiting lists for certain posts remain vacant, particularly for that cinderella profession of psychiatry. Morality and ethics would suggest the IMO funding would be better used towards ensuring our students worked in our hospitals and are given a fair opportunity to progress. Since when is the sole function of the union to focus of 'pay' without the creation of a core value part of the equation.

Today's Independent headline states 'SIPTU says it could not sack 'Slush Fund' official'. Siptu pledges to have known nothing about the 'slush fund'. Is this credulous? They say that the fomer national industrial secretary, Matt Merrigan, set up a bank account and collected 4 million euros from the taxpayer over a 7 year period. 'Study trips' - the USA, Canada and even Australia for Mr Merrigan, trade union representatives and public sector members was the priority. What is most surprising is the fact that instead of notifying the fraud squad, the inquiry is internal and the only advice sought is from a Senior Counsel and his advice was that they could not dismiss Mr Merrigan. The reprimand was that he was demoted and his salary and pension reduced accordingly.

Wining and dining, studying abroad, wives on junkets. A trifle of £4 m squirreled away in a "Slush Fund" and nobody cares. Trade unions are about their members. The Slush Fund here tells another story. Minister Shatter for Justice - are we naive? Is there one law for the person who steals a bottle of wine from TESCO and is caught on the cameras and another for these elites because evidence is massaged?

author by O'Malley - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Sun Jun 23, 2013 15:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The LPT/SUSI and Abtran appears to be a great success, so perhaps now we will gain the insight to our trade unions and the question is how will they fair up, under such scrutiny.

To name but a few unions -

Teachers' Unions

The elite of the elite must be the IMO and today's SBP is a must read.

Quote: IMO placed in turmoil when GP Dr Paul Armstrong from Donegal, quite blatantly made the point in a letter to the medical press. He stated:

"Fred Goodwin lost his knighthood and ended his career in disgrace over a retirement package of £8 million from Royal Bank of Scotland.....That IMO (re George McNeice aged 50 pension deal £24 m reduced to £9.7) leaders would appeaer to have accepted this deal, without any serious questions over many years, is a disgrace".

Integrity: Now we have the opportunity to make changes, to stop the rot, the glutony of the elites who emerged during that cosy cartel of unions, public servants and employers who have secured unacceptable deals requiring pension pots of millions to be funded by our young people when they eventually secure employment.

The medical profession is supposed to abide by the motto 'Do no harm'

Today's Business Post would suggest their mind is money focused as distinct from being the caring profession as motivator.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions and lack of Integritypublication date Sun Jun 30, 2013 15:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The media and hush hush - we have the tapes that can be played and replayed, printed and re-printed and these are the capitalists who brought Ireland to its knees and providing we don't prejudice these peoples right to a fair trial, there is no need to examine root and branch of other entities in particular our trade unions, our semi-state sector in search of the same 'rot' borne out of lack of integrity, morality and ethics.

So certain people are called before the Public Accounts Committee, when the matter most likely should have been dealt with years ago by the Gardai and the fraud squad. In Ireland it is simple, be a vulnerable person and steal some food from the like of Tescos and the process is clear. The security guard tackles you, the surveillance camera is the evidence, the Gardai are called and you are express delivery file for the DPP, onward moving towards the courts and inevitably prison.

The media is shy in reporting on the likes of IMO (trade union) and McNeice. Does it not augur as suspicious that the man had a £24 million deal secured that enabled him to retire with a pension multiples of the salaries paid to average workers from age 52. Why do people not ask why it was so easy for him to reduce the amount to £9.7 as HIS concession? Does anyone ask where the money came from given the IMO is a trade union? It must ultimately be from the contributions of the members and perhaps McNeice, the benevolent, was willing to accept the reduction to £9.7 because there was no more money in the IMO account. Questions must be asked and the media must report on the findings. The fact that Minister O'Reilly was involved in the IMO and that there are questions to be answered is not justification for the media not to interact and inform the people.

'Just Farcical' the heading in the Irish Mirror. Why because quite evidently people have abused power and are in a position to conceal data and information that belongs not to them but to the general public. It is no small amount of money. Apparently Merrigan created 'a HSE-funded pot concerned with the training and upskilling of low-paid workers, to pay for trips to New York, Hong Kong and Australia'. Mimicry of the elites is the accusation here and let's see how the Public Accounts committee will question Merrigan and the answers he will give.

We are back to the trade unions again only this time the person named is Matt Merrigan. Again, it is the spending of vast sums of money on travel abroad, junkets, entertainment, all in the name of training for the undisclosed. This time, a fearful Mr Merrigan when fielded with accusations, including an initial inquiry by the fraud squad, sought a report from Grant Thornton, Accountants so that he could 'clear his name'. What is astounding about this, is that Mr Merrigan refuses to release the report. The Union SIPTU paid £76,000 for this report that they are not privy to!

Fine Gael TD Kieran O'Donnell has said that the "whole thing was farcicial"...."I cannot for the life of me understand how Siptu paid for the report. Siptu own that report, not Grant Thornton." Meanwhile we are forced to accept the mutterings of the general secretary of the trade union that they are basically entitled not to release the report (somewhat like the Anglo tapes now only being released when we all know they should have been in the custody of the Central Bank, ECB and others, the day we knew Anglo Irish was caught out). Individualists have gained too much power and the time is now to break down the walls of abuse of power and restore integrity. The words nothing can be done because we are seeking legal advice are not enough. We have the fraud squad, the DPP, the Criminal Assets Bureau, let them have the opportunity for them to do their job and lets get these people who have abused power and their position before the courts to carry the strong words that Ireland no longer tolerates corrupt practices at any level.

40 junkets and no details, a number of which related to St Patrick's day trips. No officials to sign off. How crazy this is when you look to those in the private sector particularly those in retail and construction whose union dues fund these junkets. These are the people who are now years out of work with no support from the unions they contributed to. Unions have millions invested - it is time to create modules to get people who funded you back to work. You could co-operate with the Department of Social Protection and the defunct FAS and act now before we become deskilled and of no value. The MNCs have derived much from Ireland, it is time to encourage them to give some corporate social responsibility to us in the form of creating work potential and training for the unemployed. We are now 5 years into recession and we need action on all fronts.

author by Blake - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Wed Jul 03, 2013 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Have the Unions in Ireland any secret information about how people who worked on the docks for example and got asbestos have been treated?

New Scientist 18th May 2013 has written a brief article of this and it may be of interest to people who have worked with asbestos and who were exposed to health risks.

There is at present an attempt to conceal and even blunt the threat of asbestos in developing countries which has failed. Russia and six allies have blocked a move to have Chrysotile (white asbestos) listed under a United Nations convention...this means that member countries must decide to risk whether or not they will import it.

107,000+ people die every year from asbestos related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis as revealed by the World Health Organisation. We should note that Chrysotile cement is, still in use in Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Rotterdam Convention Alliance Kathleen Ruff stated that 'This is a human tragedy'.

Have SIPTU anything to say about Asbestos Belfast Docks, Dublin Docks.....?

Editor: Added link to the New Scientist May 18th article

Related Link:
author by Paymaster Taxpayerpublication date Thu Jul 04, 2013 16:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Trade unions maximize the pay of their members.
They don't give a shit about ethics or Ireland.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions and integritypublication date Mon Jul 08, 2013 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Paymaster taxpayer:

Ireland is on the Floor, you are right but yet people's apathy is astounding which seems to indicate that the shadow/black economy is so entrenched at every level of our society from our trade unions to our public sector to the quangos to the goverment that people have disengaged. We have exchanged one culture of self engrandisement in the Celtic Tiger to the blame culture and apathy of the past five years.

The trade unions dump those who fall from the ranks of being employed to the status of unemployed. The trade unions are weighted favourably by the public sector at the expense of the mass redundancies in the private sector. It is time for the young people, the people who are now becoming long-term unemployed to engage with the realities of the trade unions and their dedication to fighting for the best deals for themselves and those in the public sector. These people have taken cuts to salaries but they are not on the coal face of looking for work and living on social welfare (which too has been subject to cuts) with no prospects of work and the stark reality of emigration. There is a new 'Us v Them'. Those who are at work and those who cannot get work. Permanent part-timers are the new breed in town but these are the people who have no rights and all that has been achieved is blown in the wind.

FAS must have its fair share of trade union representatives. The media coverage of late suggests that there are outstanding matters relating to excessive payments on junkets, training programmes with insufficient supervision or the essential cost-benefit analysis of community employment programmes that must be tackled before their new flagship Solus can be placed in motion. What is this but more bureaucratic bias in favour of the trade unions and their objective of maximising pay while those who are unemployed are left without proper opportunities to upskill and create opportunities for work in Ireland.

The retail sector is hammered. The old department stores who were the ambassador's of Ireland's identity have shed the workers to permanent part-timers no longer trade union affiliated in favour of the new breed of worker but at what cost? Construction is decimated but we need to ask the question about the trade union representation in these sectors? Do these representatives lose their jobs pro-rata to those in the sectors who are now years out of work, or who have emigrated, or who are waiting for Solus to replace the disgraced FAS.

Meanwhile: Look at our City of Dublin. The Gathering is attracting the people and great for our balance sheet. However, if the balance sheet is weighted by debt without any possibility of a write-down, we will still be losers inspite of having the initiative to tap a reserve market of opportunity special to the Irish ie their tourist industry.

Trade Unions have substantial funds in their treasuries with virtually no return as interest rates are at rock bottom. The representatives are keeping themselves in work but without using the initiative to establish back-to-work programmes for the people who once diligently paid their dues. If the unions were motivated and took some risk they could create competitive advantage and what happened within FAS would have been waivered and jobs could have been created five years ago.

Take a look at Germany. Skills are essential, as is science, languages. Trade unions have a function, let them stop feathering their nests and get out there and create work opportunties for their former members in particular.

author by Hugh Murphy - Sackedbymyunion Ex Belfast Dockerpublication date Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As an ex Belfast Docker - whose lungs are full of Asbestos - I can state that my Union, then still ITGWU, SOLD OUT Larkin and Connolly. The Union chairman, Jim Austin, guarranteed us that " silly dust couldn't kill anyone". This, after Paddy the turk Brennan told him that "Asbestos KILLS YOU".

When I learned from my Doctor that this was indeed true, BUT that it wouldn't kill me for 40 or 50 years - I REFUSED TO WORK AT IT AGAIN.

The Union Chairman was rewarded by the employers with the job of LABOUR CONTROLLER. He and the employers got together and formed an illegal and corrupt Union/Employers COURT to sack me and anyone else who disagreed with them.

This was in the 1974. Even then the Union had embraced the selling out of workers and so-called Partnership. The sell out chairman REMAINED A MEMBER OF THE UNION.

More details of the Union sell out can be seen on & Sackedbymyunion on Twitter.

Related Link:
author by Hugh Murphy - Sackedbymyunion Ex Belfast Dockerpublication date Wed Jul 10, 2013 15:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the above post, I related how - at Belfast Docks our union ITGWU persecuted union members for the employers. I fully expected SIPTU to refute this charge AND TO DENY that Jim Austin ordered US, the Dockers, to discharge Asbestos without protection.

I also expected SIPTU to deny that Jim Austin sold out and joined the employers as Labour Controller, AND besides being an employer REMAINED a union member. To put this in perspective: this is like having James Reilly as a member of SIPTU - whose side is he on?

I also expected them to deny that they set up a Union and Employers COURT for Trying and sacking dockers.

Siptu are a disgrace. Jack O'Connor should have his pension taken off him be given a brush and set to work in the City Centre. That's all he could clean up.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Tue Jul 16, 2013 15:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can someone on this site explain to me how Siptu can hold a war chest of euros 37 million in bank accounts? In the current ruthless climate it is a lot of cash.

I also want to ask; what about the 4 million euros scandal linking the HSE and Siptu - where is the missing money; is it misappropriated and if so, why no heads on the block?

I then ask: the Mattie Merrigan charade, off flying globally on holidays and comes back and says he did not realise he was using his Siptu visa card. I believe the 'amount' was paid back. The PAC (Public Accounts Committee) still awaits his presence to answer some serious questions.

Siptu also: they had planned a major facelift of their head office. In the year of the centenary of the Lockout, could Siptu not help families who are on the bread line. Jack O'Connor and others in his rank and file earn lots of money. Frank Connolly of late is in silence. Incredible.

People skip meals on a daily basis : the spending of a few million would help in a small way and ex trade union members deserve support.

Any ideas or answers

Brian Flannery

author by Comyn - Justicepublication date Wed Jul 17, 2013 16:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Stephen O'Brien, Political Editor - Sunday Times has the courage to fill in the media gaps. The news is that the 'Dail plans to grill Siptu officials over the 4 million euros fund'. Surprise Surprise we are entitled to see justice applied without delay and therefore justice will not be denied.

The Public Accounts Committee have decided to use their power to compel trade unionists Matt Merrigan and Jack Kelly and former HSE official Alan Smith 'to discuss the operation of a 4 million euros national health and local authority fund'. Even more shocking is that a Grant Thornton report was commissioned to by Mr Merrigan to evaluate the activity of this fund and part of the "compellability" order is to obtain this report, which Mr Merrigan retains control over. TD's are awaiting the report while Merrigan has told the PAC in June that he is unable to give evidence because the matter was being investigated by the Garda Siochana. The matrix continues to frustrate the process of the law and the DPP.

Bureaucracy creeps on as we are told that the PAC have this matter in hand and have written to the Oireachtas Committee on procedures and privileges seeking the necessary permission to enter "Compellability Mode".

Where is the Truth? What do we know?

Let's start with the Comptroller and Auditor General: They have found that over 4 million euros, ex a number of state bodies, was paid into an account called 'the Siptu National Health and Local Authority Levy Fund' during the years 2002 - 2009. The Department of Health is involved.

They know that 600,000 euros was 'spent on foreign travel by trade union officials, public servants and others' but in the absence of the Grant Thornton report, the necessary details are awaited. The PAC have this matter in hand and have written to the Oireachtas Committee on procedures and privileges seeking the necessary permission to enter "Compellability Mode". This means it can compel witnesses .... they must attend hearings and produce documents. Time now to recall the investigative skills of Senator Shane Ross relating to FAS and ask the question about the culture of entitlement of certain self appointed elites and what the investigations unfurled in FAS and at what cost to the Irish taxpayers.

There is a culture of waste that pervades our society at every level; it needs to be expugned. People who abuse their power and position and who are responsible for creating slush funds for the purpose of endorsing cronyism and narcissism must be identified and the due process of the Law must apply.

Trade unions have become part of a process; we approach nearly 500,000 people unemployed and many are emigrating, in particular our educated young population. Trade Unions need to step out of the mist where like the employers they hold deposit accounts (Siptu reported to have in excess of £35 million) in banks that shield them from the realities of the workers who lose their jobs. They like the new FAS in transition to Solas must tackle unemployment hands on; we need to know that they are working for the unemployed. It is not acceptable that all energies are placed on the Haddington Road Agreement....we need to ensure that the unemployed, the under employed, in particular all those former employees who monthly paid their union dues are receiving the attention they are due. Underclass in formation needs to be tackled now.

Too many have pension pots that we cannot sustain. Nobody responds to the George McNeice settlement yet the young doctors are struggling working in excess of 100 hours. In the US, people talk about double dipping. This is where people have two pensions. Ireland public sector and Government merit a comment. Take a person in government who receives a teachers pension; TD's pension, Ministers pension, EU related pension and who knows what else based on the tax concessions relating to pensions. Is this fair? These up the ante for the others in the public sector and the trade unions. The private sector is decimated. Just look around you. Take Grafton Street Dublin - lots of tourists but nothing that reflects Ireland in our shops and nothing but vacant properties. Trade Unions should be active and inspirational in times of such economic hardship.

author by Blake - Trade Unionspublication date Wed Jul 24, 2013 16:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Summer time and the living is easy

fish are jumping and the cotton is high................'

But in Ireland too many are now unemployed; too many are under employed; too many young people will become driftwood as a small open economy on the Atlantic off the UK and Europe becomes the Detroit, USA (now bankrupt); the main difference being that the population of detroit deminished from 1951 at 1.5 millon to its present population of 700,000+. What can Ireland learn and learn now?

Interesting post about Eddie Hobbs and his recommendation to our millionaires to take the risk and go to Detroit. Sad really because we need those very same people to innovate and invest in the Island of Ireland where people from foreign countries have chosen to emigrate to and where the population is increasing. Thankfully, the MNC's still are keen to locate in Ireland based on factors like we speak the English language, we are in the Eurozone, the EU, we have a high standard of education, we have a young population and so much more. We need to take hope from the fact that Google plan to invest further with a conference centre (which will compete with the one we already have) but theirs will host 15,000 people. This is a commitment on their part. The Celtic Tiger moved us up several notches and then dropped us down but maybe now we are near a platform and we need to learn and start climbing again upwards. We can start by asking the MNC's to use their financial power to negotiate with the Troika to write down a significant proportion of the debt that can never be repaid and soon.

Who has heard of the Robin Hood? We all have. Robin Hood is needed in Ireland so try google and catch up with the plans of the modern day Robin Hood drive in the US and the UK. The EU are mooting for Financial Transaction Tax but the UK lose out so there must be a give and take. Ireland needs to be a beneficiary of this Robin Hood initiative, if only he could influence the powers that be to write down the debt.

Today the OECD has said Ireland is not a tax haven. However we do provide sweet deals for the MNC's and it is time for us to ask for a greater return from these engines of economic growth potential to provide opportunities through a Robin Hood type programme to create employment for those who are now unemployed in our country. Trade Unionists have failed utterly to be innovative to create work initiatives; their concern is feathering their own nests and sitting on the sidelines. Shame on the reckless management of the IMO, Siptu and others - similar to the banks and developers there is a culture of gross misconduct that if properly investigated by the Gardai would suggest corrupt practices.

The trade unions have faltered, they have lost sight of the people who kept them in their present standing, they are too lazy to invest their money in projects alongside the multi-nationals to get the people away from the dole queues and create jobs. It is possible. Ireland is a small country and education is the only way forward.

Google undertake to help the over 55's with 1 hr hand's on training in Barrow Street. We need more of these initiatives. The time has come again in another century this time for proper corporate social responsibility. Guinness did it with the Beano and the Iveagh Hostels so today's MNC's can create opportunities for the unemployed.

450,000+ unemployed this summer. We are not Detroit, we don't want to be the Detroit of Europe. We have the education, we have the MNC's but we must tackle the public sector and we must address the bureaucracy and create a fairer society and to side step the rot of corruption that will fuel the black economy to our detriment. There must be hope. We are not in the awful Civil War that destroys Syria.

author by fredpublication date Thu Jul 25, 2013 09:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Get real. Corporations are not charitable organisations. They are sociopathic profit generating machines. They couldn't give two shits about the problems in Ireland. In fact, they are the ones blackmailing us while we are down with the unspoken threat of moving elsewhere and shedding a bunch of jobs if we make them pay even the low rate of corporation tax we pretend to have here instead of the 2% or so they actually pay.
Your utter naivete is charming.

People need to face reality. You are not helping posting this fanciful drivel.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Thu Jul 25, 2013 15:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors


I totally agree with you on most of your points.

Can I ask you a question?

Do you not agree that the trade unions have gone 'Corporate' here to a degree? Nearly 500,000 on the live register yet Siptu hold 37 million euros+ on deposit at near zero interest rate return in our State owned banks or even overseas investments, if we are to be told the truth?

1. Where did the money come from?

2. It's the year of the centenary of the 1913 Lock Out. Fred what really has changed?

Any views on cronyism here.

Brian Flannery

author by fredpublication date Fri Jul 26, 2013 04:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was focussing on the naivete of thinking that MNCs will do anything out of charity.

I agree that trade unions have become part of our problem too. The upper echelons are paid as much as (and are in bed with) government TDs. They protect the highly paid paper pushers with ridiculous pension rights, and the likes of double jobbing consultants who bleed our health system. Meanwhile most private sector workers are left in the wilderness.

Union leaders should get an average industrial wage.
Workers earning over 100k should probably not be allowed into a union.
Everyone in the state should get only the same basic state pension, no matter what their job.

I don't see 37 million changing anything much but perhaps they could choose to invest some of it in creating a few Irish jobs in an industry that would definitely give a return like food processing.

And I'm pretty sure Larkin would be spinning in his grave all right

But before we begin the task of reforming the unions, we should make these bloody MNCs pay their fair share of corporation tax. It's already the lowest in Europe at 12.5% and they've gotten away with it for long enough.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sun Jul 28, 2013 15:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fred. I agree with what you have to say.

Yes, the unions of this country are embedded with political parties. I ask why Siptu and Beggs and the rest are not shouting from the roof-tops on behalf of the ordinary man.

Apathy sadly is a scourge in Ireland today. What does it take to get the people to fight back and regain their rights in a so-called democracy?

Brian Flannery

author by Seamus Larkin - Trade Unions & the loss of Ethics Transparencypublication date Tue Aug 06, 2013 15:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The third day of the Dublin bus strike.

Watching Minister for Jogging and not a care in the world in a photo in the daily newspapers.

Also not a word from O'Connor or Beggs and all the rest who supposedly represent the working man (please note once you become unemployed you are deleted from their ie the Trade Unions membership).

The tourists are streaming into Ireland and yet the buses in the capital city are on strike. This is seriously impacting on the working lives of people yet Kenny and the Dail monkeys are on holidays.

These workers have to feed their families, and I ask a question or may it be a suggestion:-

Would the like of Jack O'Connor (Siptu); Beggs and the rest donate a portion of their massive salaries to put food on the strikers tables tonight.

Seamus Larkin

author by Brendan O'Sullivan - ex-Siptupublication date Thu Aug 08, 2013 15:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The bus strike came to a very abrubt end. Leo Varadkar, Minister for many tongues, stated he would not get involved. This was not true. He had his team with Minister of State John Kelly in secret talks for two days. These questions were asked on Morning Ireland last Tuesday. No Comment was the coalitions reply.

Yesterday was another black day for workers with upwards on 450 losing their jobs. Marks and Spensers have closed four retail units in Ireland.

The silence of the Unions on this site in particular is most alarming to say the least.

The cosy cartels do not go away. The workers particularly the retail sector are being hammered and they only deal for them are these zero-hours contracts and the Unions have not even tackled the shift from full-time work, holidays, sick pay and pensions to bare bones part-time (basically no rights) work.

Brendan O'Sullivan

author by Don't trust the unionspublication date Thu Aug 08, 2013 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No one is safe with union membership, and you're better off getting yourself a good solicitor if you can afford it and if it's relevant to your job. A friend of mine works in the public sector and was taking a case of bullying against her manager regarding extra workload and finance accountability in her job and she thought her union would help. Instead her unite rep decided to sexually harass her and bully her into accepting more workload under the croke park deal. She has now got herself a solicitor and now she has two cases to sort out at work, downgrading of job and a sexual harassment case that will be more likely be defended by Human Resources. Only in Ireland does this happen.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions Integritypublication date Fri Aug 09, 2013 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well written posting. A sad reflection of our present day Trade Union officials especially this year the centenary of 1913. Transparency must prevail. If the Charity heads can be reported in the newspapers naming them and their 100,000+ pay packages, their perks, their pensions, then we need a similar shake down on what the elites in our trade unions are paid and what pensions the retirees have secured, all on the back of Croke Park cronyism.

Nobody seems to care about Merrigan - the HSE slush fund of 4 million euros and the questions raised; add to this the scandalous provision for IMO Chief executive McNeice aged 51 with his retirement sugar coated deal which had to be reduced from 24 million euros to under 10 million euros. These are the people identified but what about all the others in their gilded offices shielded from the realities of what the recession in Ireland is really about and the plight of those particularly in the service and retail sector who are the new down trodden neatly referred to as the Zero-Hours workers who have no rights apart from the wage rate that the employer pays them.

Trade unions have faltered. You lose your job and their contract with the employee is over. Tough for you but they are embedded in their equivalent to the public service bureaucracy that is rightly being pitted against the private sector who have been severely effected by this recession. If you want to find out details about the rise of the Zero Hours, the Sunday Times 4th August is worth reading.

We have almost 500,000 people unemployed if you add those who are on the dole, disability and massaged FAS course to reduce the numbers unemployed. We don't know the figures of how many have emigrated or for that matter how many have immigrated to Ireland. But according to last weeks Sunday Times, we now have 'Up to 500,000 people who are now "employed" with no guaranteed hours. The Unions are up in arms, but is it really a problem?'.

The above title states boldly and no doubt taking account of the Centenary year of the Lockout that the unions continue to side with the workers and their rights, both when in work and when made redundant, but we know the truth. The unions crossed over the line and their preference is linked hand and glove with the employers. As said before, the media have an obligation to identify the packages these union public sector doss house receive and let them have the opportunity to get back to grass roots and do their job and protect workers' rights.

Britain is presently waking up to the idea of "zero-hours" - most likely we have it entrenched in Ireland without as yet naming it. Zero-hours means: You have no guarantee of regular work or pay; lives are lived at the whims of an employer. This is alarming for a small open economy like Ireland with a population of 4.5 million. The insecurity within the realms of being employed is totally removed from over 500,000 people and the trade unions do nothing.

What about the US trend towards social benefit ie corporate social responsibility? The profit motive is being sightly side stepped, not unlike what happened in another century when Guinness, Bewley's crossed the line from profitability to social. In the UK there is a shame attached to this abrogation of workers rights with retailers such as 'Arcadia (parent company of Top Shop and BHS), Next, B&Q, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer who like others insiste they don't use zero-hours contracts'. The question to be asked is if they have the same view to employing people in Ireland.


author by Larkin - Trade Unionspublication date Sun Aug 18, 2013 16:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Springboard suggests a means to end; the way forward to employment.

DCU Ryan Innovation is worth investigating as an option out of unemployment because with all the public relations wastage and promises from the Department of Education, the Department of Social Protection, the FAS in transit to Solas, the news on street is being unemployed is the destination rather than the creator of opportunities for a long time going forward. People say that the FAS courses, the little tete a tetes of groups of unemployed are nothing but a gesture of a promise towards getting people work.

As for the Trade Unions. All you need to do is pay your dues when you work and the subs are paid monthly but as soon as you become unemployed the trade unions are no longer interested ie until you are in paid employment again but then if you are in retail/construction sector you are destined for the zero-contract package so the truth is nobody is really protecting the labour conditions and rights of people now.

Good to hear that one exceptional person, a year on, through her own persistence enters the job market again.

Activelink is a good way to keep abreast of employment and volunteer options but via the internet.

SIPTU along the quays. Why is it that the main FAS office on D'Olier Street and the adjacent buildings to Liberty Hall are in such dismal repair. These should be hubs of activity tapping into the valued resources like Google and IFSC based so close by. If we want to create employment and opportunities these premises should be beacons of light not dust and grime. It took Desmond and Haughey to create the idea of the IFSC, Temple Bar, inspite of all the other allegations, these ideas have contributed if we were to to do a cost benefit analysis of Ireland since the last recession in the 1980's.

author by Connolly - Trade Union Ethics & Integritypublication date Tue Aug 20, 2013 16:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

SIPTU: What are you doing for the employees of the Sunday Business Post that went into Examinership.

Newspapers are about keeping the people informed about what is happening in the country.

There is an omerta in reporting that goes beyond what is acceptable for silly season August.

What is the story about Merrigan? What is the story about McNeice? For that matter: what about the people being asked to leave the Sunday Business Post with many years of service and just statutory redundancy.

The Pensions crisis is looming. It is more than an elephant in the room because when people in the public sector and semi-state finally grasp the realities that pensions will not be honoured going forward then trade unions will be on the firing line. The newspapers have a duty to report about the pensions crisis. Start with the article in the Sunday Times this week and alert people.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions watcherpublication date Fri Aug 23, 2013 16:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Lock-Out 1913 by the National Library of Ireland exhibition conjures up a meek and mild approach for fear people would embrace the realities of the underclass that is being created in Ireland and take to the streets to protest. It is worth a visit, it runs into 2014 and why not visit Buswells hotel where politicians and civil servants so often frequent.

But let's not complain, at least there is some acknowledgement of what happened in 1913, the Lock-Out, Wiliam Martin Murphy, Jim Larkin and James Connolly and how the trade unions intervened to improve the status of the lowly Irish worker, both male and female.

The Trade Unions in Ireland today resemble the capitalist whose capital and wealth pays more than an income from mere laborious work. Take the case cited so often on this site of Mr McNeice (former Chief Executive of the Irish Medical Organisation "IMO" (ie their trade union) and his reduction from £24 million pension pot to £9.7 million. Nobody cries out, not even the doctors or the consultants. Do people not ask why? It is simple because the IMO - the medical doctors trade unions secured some of the best negotiated deals in Europe for consultants and doctors and for the last 5 years it is the trade unions who have been seriously engaged in preserving their status quo. If this applies to the doctors and consultants, it is not unrealistic to apply the equation to other professions, to government pensions, to public sector. These unions are the goose that laid the golden egg but for how long? The unions are soft, their leaders have lost contact with the people at grassroots. Zero-hour work to them is a wasteland going forward and they avoid these drifters and casualties of the corporates, the construction industry, the retailers because they need to be the advisers to the overlords with their pensions, their perks, their education junkets to Harvard. You see for them it has become the preservation of what they have attained. People need to start asking questions about the semi-state sectors and link-ups that exist with their union officials. Pensions are there to be protected for the new elites and these include the like of Siptu, Unite, IMO, INMO etc etc but we need to ask at what cost?

The Troika, the Government, the Central Bank, the EU gravy train must stop the bureaucracy that is spewing out the message that deceit is better than social justice. It is time to draw a line in the sand. Moral bankruptcy will sink this country. The Tribunals highlight where the corruption was entrenched. We know about the black economy but now is the time tackle it and at every level. We know about the Mr Tax Exiles and we know how shame and exclusion from powerful elite meetings can influence change. However, if the people with power in government lack the courage to exclude these Mr Tax Exiles then the deceit continues and the example that people need to thread a more equitable route is absent. In 1913, the Quakers promoted equity and Peace. Today, we are floundering without examples to influence us towards what is acceptable for all in our society.

Ireland is going underwater. 100,000 people in 90 days arrears in their mortgages, nearly 500,000 are unemployed and say 300,000 have already emigrated, is what we hear about in the media but what we don't hear is the social damage that has been caused by the 'wallowing in the mire' policy directives of those who are supposed to govern. Legislation abounds - guillotine is the new buzz word in the Dail. The Troika tell the Central Bank who tells the banks, the lenders to act. What happens? We drift on and the more we drift on, the lack of clarity creates an even bigger underclass underpinned by a black economy that becomes the only way for people to survive. We have the rich and the poor and the divide is getting wider and wider.

The trade unions have sold the people out. They have collected funds and hold them in accounts. There are no programmes to re-engage people in the work-force. This has been left to FAS and signs on it has taken them 5 years to date, with minimal impact ie apart from the Internships JobBridge schemes.

The pink paper holds out some hope today for a sense of moral integrity can pass through the decades and become an example for people to follow: John Lewis Partnership is worth googling up. The motto goes 'Never Knowingly Undersold'. If you buy something from them and it is cheaper in another shop, they honour the lower price. This is a grassroots principle that applies but today's headline in the pink paper puts it to us all to re-engage with Integrity but at an individual level and a corporate one too.

The article is by Duncan Robinson - front page - The Pink Paper
'The John Lewis Partnership has been widely acclaimed by the political establishment as a model employer'.

There is good reason for this: John Lewis Partnership recently discovered it underpaid approx 69,000 out of its 85,000 workforce from its department stores and Waitrose supermarkets. The staff who regularly work on Sundays and bank holidays receive a higher hourly wage. However, the employee-owned partnership failed to take this into account when calculating their holiday pay (this practice is contrary to Working Time Regulations).

Their way of dealing with this oversight:

'John Lewis said it had gone beyond its legal obligations by offering to aware back pay to employees who were shortchanged, rather than staff having to make claims'. "The Board have tried to take the fairest response and pay back as far as possible"..... it goes back to 2006 and it amounts to £40 million.

O please let us learn from this.


author by O'Malley - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Thu Aug 29, 2013 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Trade unions: what have you in mind?

The workers in Clery's were persuaded to accept the equivalent to zero hours contracts and then one day they were out of work and forgotten by SIPTU. There were those who stayed and those who left but then comes a big storm and the water flows in Clerys and the doors are closed for weeks now. It was easy for the private equity group to put in place the re-run of redundancy zero-hour contracts and let's see what SIPTU do for these now employees pending the re-opening of Clerys., that is of course, if it does ever re-open.

Another wrap of the knuckles for SIPTU. What about that security company in Donegal that provided work in security for Tesco Ireland. Tesco decided to go global and now choose a French company. Result all the workers in the Donegal business lost their jobs and there seems to be no negotiation option. Tescos Corporate rules in Ireland or maybe it's their UK office; it has favourable tax rules in Ireland, and doesn't have to declare profits. However, this doesn't mean that they can be so brutal in their exercise of power. This business faces extinction at the whim of Tescos. They will not even negotiate with the workers or their trade unions according to newspapers.

author by Larkin - Trade Unions publication date Fri Aug 30, 2013 16:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Todays newspapers report that people working for McDonalds, Burger King and other outlets are considering strike action in the US. They realise now that the minimum wage is not enough; it cannot sustain the basic lifestyle of workers. Apparently, executive in McDonalds did a research study on the incomes of their workers and found many held second jobs. They expressed their amazement on how their workers could possibly live on the wages paid. The circle revolves and the people rise up and say, enough: we work, we need fair pay, we need pensions, we need work-hours and holidays, we need health cover. It is the service sector, the retail sector, the construction sector, the food sector, the public transport system who provide the services that give the infrastructure that the citizens need and use.

So zero-hours contracts beware.

Cloaked invitations yield from SIPTU, National Library, media and other bodies linked to trade unions to celebrate the anniversary of the 1913 lockout in Ireland but veiled they are in case any comparisons are made. People like Jim Larkin, Connolly, those dedicated people in the ITGWU who fought for basic human rights for people, and especially Mrs Hackett who is suggested as a name for the new bridge, would tell the people of today to heed the old saying 'if you make yourself a door mat, a door mat you will be'.

Clerys staff are supposed to be inside those once distinguished doors sorting, clearing out, cleaning with hard hats on their heads as the builders work. Where are the trade unions like Siptu? What are the rights of these workers?

author by Comyn - Justicepublication date Tue Sep 03, 2013 16:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At last a woman:

Rosie Hackett is the name for the new bridge. Well done and rightly so for decades of work for people in need.

Can anyone ask how it is that some of our junior doctors have been so neglected that the IMO has not ensured that the hours of work are what the EU guidelines state?

Too busy working out deals for their own coterie of managers, consultants, GP's. The lowly are the ones they use to do the hours and the patients - well they remain vulnerable to a bloated HSE anyway if they are public patients.

George McNeice is a scandal. How can a Chief Executive of the IMO a trade union at the age of 51 sideline a package of £24 million for himself. OK it was reduced to £9.7 but what does this say about all the other rank and file. We must note that the young doctors are the fodder here that don't even merit without going on strike, what the EU regulations say is law.

author by O'Malley - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Fri Sep 06, 2013 16:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

People who just disappear from the shopfloor and weeks later you ask about them only to discover they have been pushed out, often with the assistance of their eager Trade Union, who think of 'Trade Union's bigger picture'.

Abuse of power and petty power and hierarchy has its downside. Sadly though it is often the vulnerable who are victimised and they truly have no voice, they just disappear from view.

Ireland provides Tesco with preferential tax-breaks and other benefits. These breaks assisted Tesco profits of £3.5 bn for 2012. The question is how good is Tesco and their ethos of Corporate Social Responsibility to the people they employ in Ireland.

Robert Halfon (Conservative MP), published an article in the New Statesman magazine in May 2013 highlighting the 'mistreatment of disabled and agency workers'; it is worth reading even though it concerns Harlow in Essex in the UK and not Ireland. Why, because it is the Tesco culture that must be examined and challenged when necessary and by people who have regard for the rights of the workers who are employed by these multi-nationals. According to the findings of Robert Halfon, he was deeply shocked by the treatment of 800 workers in his constituency of Harlow, particularly those that resulted in serious allegations of 'maltreatment of disabled workers, attacks on equal pay, poor treatement of agency and full-time staff'.

Zero-hours contracts is the new lingo in Ireland. The large companies particularly in the retail sector are abusing their power with the assistance of the trade unions to terminate contracts using the excuse of the recession.

It would be interesting to hear about how staff really feel they are treated in these big retail companies like Tescos, Dunnes, Aldi's, Clery's, Arnotts.............

author by Anne O'Mahony - Mother of disabled childpublication date Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Going through some tweets over the weekend I noticed people were very critical of the Tesco store on Baggot Street. Living on Haddington Road it is my local store. I must fully concur with the tweets. Without naming the employee and we will call him Jim, this man with intellectual difficulties was bullied to the point of nearly a nervous breakdown. I have spoken to a number of staff over the last number of days and sadly they told me what happened. Jim as we will call him was in the stores just taking a little time out and eating some sweets. The bully, it is alleged went straight to management and the rest is sadly history. Jim was called up to the office and in the company of a security guard and a member of the Mandate trade union, the vulnerable employee was told to empty his locker (after working for Tescos for 12 years) and to leave with immediate effect. This is a complete factual story of what happens in modern Ireland, the country of tax breaks to corporates.

I have written to Minister Kathleen Lynch and Minister Joan Burton. I received only read receipts. I now believe that people in the area are going to sign a petition and send it to the Chief Executive of Tescos, Tony Keohane, who is based in Dun Laoghaire, hidden behind the PR department. Where are our trade unions and for that matter organisations like Rehab who are supposed to support our vulnerable workers especially.

Anne O'Mahony

author by Ex Siptu employee - Zero Hourspublication date Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Slow learners and all workers, are being shafted by Useless trade unions who allowed this farce of a a crisis to happen. Jack O'Connor allowed everyone in Finance to tell him what to do. Instead he should've grown a pair and told them where to go. His members and Irish Workers did not cause the financial meltdown so they should not have paid for it. That the Banks needed a bail out was obvious - so Jack O'Connor should've said, OK, let the banks of Europe bail them out - not the poor of Ireland and Europe.

While O'Connor pays lip service to the great Jim Larkin - his members must ask themselves, what are they getting for paying jack to say - yes yes yes, and what would Jim Larkin have done in O'Connor's place.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions publication date Fri Sep 27, 2013 16:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Teachers' Unions

and all those trade unions out there who have not yet 'put their shoulder to the wheel'.

ASTI (teachers) or so it seems may be the ones to go out on strike. The punishment from the Department of Education is that they could lose their jobs. The question is why not. So many others have already lost their jobs and many have emigrated.

What about all the people who have lost jobs, particularly in the retail sector, and the construction sector is now 5 years hammered. Nobody seems to be asking the trade unions what they do with the union dues of these abandoned people who are either now on the live register (probably forced into the black economy) or those who have just moved their families abroad as emigrants.

Does anyone ask the trade unions how much money ie cash they hold in the banks. It is said that SIPTU holds e30 million +. We know from basic maths that the IMO must have had e£10 m on deposit when they could reduce and pay McNeice aged 50 + his £9.7 settlement. The bankers too have trade unions who shelter them from the realities. Inequality prevails but trade unions have stepped over the line and cosy themselves ultimately with the corporates and employers.

FAS in transit to Solas is sure going through a very long period in labour. When is this baby due? We need to get people back to work, we need to train people, we need to create entrepreneurs, we need to assist people to emigrate if only for a few years, we need people to be learning German language as the demographics and skills requirement for work is presently there and will be increasing in the years to come.

The Trade Unions throughout the Celtic Tiger raked in vast sums of money from their members. Where is the money? They have forgotten their source of funds and they continue in their cosy cartel with employers and government ensuring their pension deals, their full-time employment. The trade unions should have created their equivalent to FAS to help people to get back to work.

There comes a point when you must forget all those who have jobs and think of those who are forced into unemployment or demoted to zero-contract hours and make them the priority. Otherwise public sectors costs just continue to rise and the deficit gets wider. People need jobs. Trade Unions need to be creative, spend their cash reserves, lower their salaries, pensions, expenses and compete with FAS to the degree that people have a chance to get proper training education and skills so that we can as a country start engaging meaningfully with the word called Enterprise.

We need to be like emigrants landing on Ellis Island when the only way was to develop the mentality 'Survivor' by creation of work.

author by Ex-Union.publication date Fri Sep 27, 2013 17:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unions are about Union bosses .

That is why capitalism walks all over them.
(Almost All trade union bosses are in the 1% rich pay bracket.)

author by O'Malley - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Wed Oct 02, 2013 16:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors


It appears to be but then at the same time, deflection is the order of the day pre-Budget 2013.

Order of business for the trade unions is for the existing workers; their wages negotiations, their pensions; but does anyone ever ask about the ex-trade union members who paid consistently their union dues and who have been shafted in favour of those who are privileged to continue to have employment and tenure.

Trade Unions forget those who were their bread and butter.

The Times today tells us that SIPTU are putting it to the Aer Lingus workers 'to consider striking over a major pensions dispute'. Is this priority?

Its about pensions of thousands of former and current Aer Lingus and DAA's about a shortfall in the pension fund that hasn't yet been resolved by its trustees and the Pensions Board.

We need to ask the question about pensions overall. Think of those who were advised to buy bank shares in Anglo Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, AIB - they lost all. Is there a correlation to the deficit in the Aer Lingus fund. Maybe just maybe it is not the time to strike over this matter because the deficit exists because of bad advice.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions & Integritypublication date Sun Oct 06, 2013 16:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Siptu again get the media coverage to show their exemplary behaviour towards their union members; the history, the fight for the plight of the under-privileged; forgetting the whole self-seeking farce that they embraced during the reign of Fianna Fail and the Celtic Tiger economy in overdrive. Benchmarking for the elites is more appropriate because the reality is that the public sector still cling on to their jobs while most of the private sector have visited the dole queues, or for some only regained work but based on zero contracts and no job security. Then there are those who just left our shores with empty hands to embrace the other world. These are the new diaspora; the diaspora of the 2000's which replaces the diaspora of the 1990's, the diaspora of the 1950's and before. The untold story is yet to be written.

The diaspora who leave behind their union dues, their pensions in limbo, for those who remain in the Trade Union management tier to exploit for their benefit on the pretence that they are conscerned with workers. Clerys is an absolute scandal. Every Irish person knows Clery's - those who met under the clock, those who danced in the ball-room, those who travelled from the country once each year to shop. Bad management decisions and investment in over inflated priced properties put this old established Department store into liquidation. The news is that the new investors is one of those 'vultures' called private equity firms ie Gordon Brothers from the US. These privileged private equity groups can afford to be vultures because that is their job. They are bargain hunters on a global scale. They see value, they use their clout and they derive deals. They manage to get staff fired albeit the neat word redundant is used, and they put pressure on the banks to basically write-down vast amounts of debt. Clerys write-down like the INM is the priortized type of debt write-down that banks engage with.

Trade Unions are busy represented the 'employed' public sector but what about their function in relation to those now unemployed and those forced to emigrate. We need to realise now just how ineffective and inefficient trade unions are in relation to the plight of the ordinary workers, those who are fired by these companies without any sense of morality or humanity for that matter. It is common knowledge that some people worked at Clery's for over thirty years and nobody cares to listen to their stories which are horrific. Nobody cares that these people lost their pensions. How much would a Clerys worker have paid into Siptu over their working life with Clerys. Shame on Siptu for the lack of respect, the lack of provision of opportunities to find alterntive work for the Clerys staff or for that matter for not negotiating the deal with Gordon Brothers to retain the staff, and to put forward their plans for Clery's Department Store.

Siptu are not afraid to court the media for their own hero worship. By now all must have heard about the Hare (and it is not that sculpture outside the AIB bank in Ballsbridge). The Hare arrived in Dublin yesterday to commemorate the 1913 Lock Out when food was sent to the starving Irish people and their children caused by the Lock Out. This was about solidarity between two Islands.

Siptu site details as follows:

The commemoration of the anniversary of the first food ship arrival to Dublin acknowledges the critical importance of the solidarity and practical support of the British Trade Union Movement towards supporting struggling families to survive one hundred years ago. The value of the food aid donated equates to over €20,000,000 in today’s terms.

Unions are urged to encourage members and their families to come along for the re-enactment and event which will run from 11.30am-1.30pm, and promises to be a really enjoyable occasion. Those attending are encouraged to ‘dress’ for the occasion!

The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support received for the SS Hare re-enactment from Congress, Dublin Port Company, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Ramsey Steam Ship Company,the RMT, SIPTU and Unite the Union, and for the contribution of the North Inner City Folklore Project, Dublin Council of Trade Union, Ken Fleming ITF and Brian Treacy.

The silence about the gross inefficiencies of the trade unions to act on behalf of workers but also on behalf of workers who have lost their jobs, those who have emigrated are silenced shamefully in Ireland's media. The trade unions are elitist now. They are trade unionist type captains of their own ship but with no time for those who paid their union dues. It behoves members of the unions to examine their fellow union members who worked in the construction industry in the retail sector and ask is the treatment given to them different than the abuse thrown at their fellow union members but in different sectors. Where is the solidarity?

Another farce is the IMO (the trade union for the medical profession). The young doctors are working hours that are contrary to EU regulations. We are one of only two countries in Europe exploiting young doctors in this way. Some junior doctors are expected to work in excess of 24 hours .... this is morally wrong and should not be accepted.

The question here rests with the IMO farce and abuse of power at Chief Executive and elite management level. Martin Wall's article in the Irish Times on October 5th 2013 is short but effective and tells us that 'IMO defers internal inquiry due to cost and legal concerns'.

When does the nonsense stop; add to this Merrigan and Kelly ie SIPTU/HSE and the £4 m slush fund, and what we learn is that those who have power abuse the rights of the people they are supposed to represent and protect.

George McNeice, Chief Executive, in his 50's leaves with package of £9.7 million reduced from £24 million. Research him - the storyline is a narrative that tells us about what has happened in the so called Trade Union cartel over the last 20 years.

They punish the junior doctors because basically the leaders feather their own nests and those of the consultants, GP's etc so well, that when it comes to investigation the legalities they can say NO. The cost is too high and there are legal concerns'. What about the minnions, those they are supposed to represent.

A Chinese saying

'Right is right, but wrong is no man's right'


author by Comyn - Justicepublication date Mon Oct 07, 2013 16:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Indymedia topics are beginning to create the matrix that links together the 'wrongs' that are being perpetrated in our society. Wrongs that happen at the very core of our entity. The time has arrived to begin to hear the voices who for over a decade now have sought clarity. Dublin Castle, this weekend hosted the Global Irish Economic Forum, the third, and not to be held next year. Can we ask those who attended if they noticed the Scales of Justice as they entered through the Gates of Dublin Castle and if they did, what do the Scales of Justice mean to them? What we ask now is for an end to corruption at every level; we ask for the outcomes of the Tribunals to be advanced and people who clearly broke the law, those white collar criminals in particular, be brought to justice so that the Scales are brought back to where equality insists and that is level. That is the challenge.

The matrix becomes interesting now because what we begin to realise is that the trade unions who supposedly represent the rights of workers are being openly questioned at grassroots about their core values. We need to ask now why our media sources in general tend to be in collusion with a self appointed status quo, which provides for privileged but at the expense of the vulnerable?

The patchwork quilt states that people are working diligently to represent their interpretation of Irish Society and how it is has progressed since the day of the decision for the Bail-Out now five years on.

Take this from one posting and then enter it into more recent posting and therein are answers to the Omerta that is destroying our sense of what democracy should be and the morality we need to restore at every level and this means each individual must stand accountable.

"Enterprise Ireland human resources staff appoint union shop stewards by using the tax payers benevolence and their purse. Indeed this has been the agreement for at least two decades with at least 3 paid reps. The recent appointment of an Enterprise Ireland HR executive to siptu steward shows that job creation does exist but needless to say, only when it suits the Dept of Enterprise, Trade & employment.
But, such appointments are also contrary to siptu rules –
Please refer to page 6 and 7 here -

Indeed, a strange relationship exists between the unions, SIPTU and Unite and the Human resources personnel throughout Forfas, IDA and EI so strange that these closed shop agreements should warrant a thorough investigation.What is the point of having a trade union for workers if they are paid out of the pockets of your employer? What has Niall Donnellan, head of HR and investments and Mark Christal, Human Resources Manager of EI got to say for themselves?"

To the students unions: ask those who vote about integrity, about honour, about code, morality, ethics. To cheat at exams in third level especially for Law is not something to be dealt with lightly. For a Provost to hold a disciplinary hearing and decide that okay the person cannot pass the summer exam but to be so arrogant to allow them do their repeats in September, can only re-iterate what is representative of our so called intellectutal elities. If you work in Tescos as a person with intellectual disabilities and you make a minor mis-take like eating a sweet from a box and the cameras spot you. You are called before a court and you are told empty your locker, your 13 years service is of no significance' and you are given the option: You are fired or accept and leave now.

Unions for students. Ask your members to think now about justice. You are the future of this country. The Provost to my mind represents an ethos that must change. Cheating is about deceit. Trinity has an excellent service for people who suffer from depression and it does not do it justice to make it possible with a non punitive punishment. For the students to follow on with an endorsement and making that student who cheated in Law their President, you are making a mockery of the Scales of Justice at Dublin Castle.


author by Brian Flannery. - Justice.publication date Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well written the above posting and I agree we need I ndymedia to highlight peoples concerns
on all Corruption and Cronyism that is rampant in all sections across this country.
I say to people keep writing and never give up.
Brian Flannery.

author by Comyn - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Fri Oct 18, 2013 16:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Honour is about a code of conduct. Hippocrates is supposed to be the guiding light of medicine and we are all aware of 'at least do no harm'. But what governs the bureaucracy that surrounds these beacons of the medical profession, both entrenched and those who are still students.

McNeice, aged 50, and privileged by being a member of a worker of a trade union, or so it seems. How? Why? Who? Secrecy appears to be the end game here and when doctors found out information that alarmed them last December, the fait accompli seems to be the order of the day. It is reported by Dr Ruairi Hanley in the Irish Independent on 9th October 2013 that on October 4, the leadership of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO ie trade union) informed members that a planned "independent review" of its past financial affairs was being deferred". The decision was vented just 4 days before the junior doctors went on strike. The promise given earlier in the year when it emerged that a former CEO aged 50+ had retired from the IMO with a pension package reduced from £20 m+ to £9.7. This man earned approximately £500,000 p.a. + perks etc.

For the people who are represented by unions, please note the endorsement 'It should be pointed out that Mr McNeice was legally entitled to all of this. Furthermore, it is fortunate he did settle for the agreed £9.7 million as it is hard to see how the organisation could have financed a figure more than double that amount'.

We need to start asking questions about pensions for the public sector, for those in Government and retired politicians; we need to ask about retirement packages and tax breaks to buy personal pensions that result in certain elites and particularly those in the public sector and in trade unions that result in privileged people having multiple pensions resulting basically at the expense of the working people. In the US they call this double dipping. They curb it. Why because it is about fairness.

Trade Unions - what have they done for the Clery's workers?

What do they have to say about all the emigrants? They after all are sitting on a nest egg of past union dues given by sectors that are the worst hit by the recession.

author by WAtcherpublication date Mon Oct 21, 2013 18:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are you Kevin or Michelle? Or the JRT?

author by O'Malley - The Alley Catpublication date Mon Oct 28, 2013 16:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Sunday Observer. The cartoon by David Simonds, is a must but I don't know if it can be uploaded.

Industrial Britain and the smoking chimneys in the background, the trodden down union leaders with their banner being flittered to pieces by a big huge gigantic alley cat gone corporate in his his pin stripe suit, the tie and that smile that says - my claws are telling you your days are numbered as he flitters what was once the Trade Union banner with the message defending the workers.

Ireland differs from the UK because Fianna Fail cleverly promoted a relationship of join our club, enjoy our salaries, our perks, our trips abroad, our pensions and what they created was a coterie of trade unioni officials in their 'Celtic Tiger' image. Just look at the corruption, the cronyism, the McNeice farce, the Merrigan credit card slip up, the SIPTU/HSE £4m question mark, who knows the misadventure that is hidden in the quangos, the semi-state. We all know the story about FAS thanks to the grassroots investigation carried out by Shane Ross and others. The reality is there is a tier of people in the trade unions with a bias towards public sector because the more they secure for these workers, the greater the deal they secure for themselves which is so closely aligned to what our politicians receive, yes even to include double dipping of pensions.

These trade unions are sitting on vast amounts of union dues paid in by workers a lot of whom are now unemployed or have emigrated or for that matter are retired (figures in excess of 600,000). Do the trade unions have any sense of obligation to these former workers. Do they care? No it seems not. Ask a worker from Clery's or from the Doyle Group of Hotels about the treatment they received and you will be shocked to learn how quickly Siptu wash their hands of a service sector worker with not much potential for work in the future, they become worthless because they are no longer paying their dues. We know their mission statement is only for those in work albeit a reducing number, but surely the history of the trade union suggests their obligations go beyond. The retail sector is now governed by the like of Starburcks and their franchises, Tescos; the great multi-nationals who get tax advantages and pay minimum tax and who are slowly but surely pushing out people who may have had contracts and union affiliation in favour of zero contract hours which basically is about obliterating all the rights the trade unions have fought for workers at a whim.

What can we learn from our nearest neighbour, which has now experienced over two decades of union decline in Britain's private sector. In 1995 nearly one third of all UK employees were union members. Now it is only 25%. It is the private sector that has suffered the highest decline, similar to Ireland. Take 1979 and the figures are a stark reality: union ranks have been halved - 13 million trade unionists to now only 6.5 million. The message is that trade unions need to be focusing on getting more people to join from the private sector but as 'Austerity' mantra of the Troika influences and government policies bite deep, this is a challenge that requires impetus, motivation and drive to secure a more equitable working environment for potential members of the union.

To read the writing on the wall, just take the example in Scotland - Firth of Forth: the 2013 Grangemouth dispute. Why? Unite represented 8 out of 10 workers is forced to capitulate to Ineos (co-owner of Scotland's largest oil refinery) and witness first hand how effective the imposition of union decline is on Britain's private sector.

'If a mighty union that represents eight out of ten employees on a classic industrial site cannot defend its members' interest, workplaces without union representation will openly doubt what affiliation will ever do for them.

For what it is worth, the benefits are manifold, from protection against employers who - like Ineos - want to scrap pension arrangements, to support in areas including legal advice and retraining'

Collective bargaining has become biased in Ireland and forgetful of those dispossessed from employment. Pensions are often forfeited. Rights become irrelevant especially where zero contracts become the order of the day. The whole issue of retraining is but a smokescreen as can be witnessed by the 300,000 on the dole queues and as for those who have emigrated, their ongoing rights are just obliterated.

Trade unions, their integrity, their motivation for the protection of workers, the provision of training for the unemployed, their history especially this centenary of the Lock-Out must be open to investigation and all forms of cronyism, bias, corruption must be weeded out. The trade unions have to represent workers in employment yes but let them not forget those who worked in industries such as the retail sector, the construction sector, and who paid their dues and who no doubt forfeited their pensions by using their treasury funds which yield basically no interest return by creating an infra-structure for employment. Take Liberty Hall within a mile of Google, surely they could use the space and have a hub of learning activity for so many of those people unemployed and willing to learn. Instead you have a grotty building minus the sense of enterprise.

Jonathan Swift's words are: 'Give vision to the visionless'. Well the time is now for the trade unions to step up to the plate and create opportunities for those out of work as well as secure benchmarking deals with those in the public sector who at least have jobs, pensions, holidays, perks etc etc.

author by Blake - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Wed Nov 06, 2013 16:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting times as Ireland forges ahead to extract itself from the Troika and engage with the open markets to raise funds. The message is that we must continue with austere practices because the budget deficit must be tackled and the fact is our debts exceed our capacity to pay in the now and going forward for many decades. The debt rises with compound interest and without a right down it is hard to imagine how Ireland will ever pay it off.

2013 is the centenary of the 1913 Lockout. Socialism challenged capitalism and people like Jim Larkin, James Connolly and many others tried ardently to engage the people through a form of solidarity against the employers who exploited the labour force for their own gain. The Sunday Independent and Shane Ross aims to engage readers with the reasons why these early trade unionists are far removed from those who presently supposedly represent their employees. It is time for the ordinary people to remove the rose tinted glasses and start coming to terms with the fact that our present day trade union leadership and members who continue to pay their union dues have diverged so far down the opposite path of that proposed by trade unions of 1913.

Ross, based on some of the foregoing postings is quite correct when he writes that 'This year's commemoration of the centenary of the Lockout has tanked into farce'. It is beyond belief that 'TG4 opted for a more modern type of socialist, so modern that his socialism is almost invisible'. They chose to select a current director of the Central Bank to commemorate both Larkin and Connolly in their progamme on the Lockout. The person selected was a member of the Central Bank but he also served as a director of FAS; worse still he served at the time when the elites of the FAS staff endorsed and contributed to that culture of waste that is a product of cronyism pending corruption. The 'privileges' became the guiding light and 'principles' were demoted to near extinction. Work for these privileged people became devoid of the principles, obligations, and ethics that should prevail. These were the people to be found highly remunerated on the many quangos so indulged and well paid for by the State (but remember it is the tax payers and citizens of the State who really pay). TG4 selected none other than Dr Des Gerraghty.

To quote Shane Ross from his article in last Sunday's Independent newspaper:-

"Comrade Des became Dr Des. He collected gigs galore, adding the powerful, well paid RTE Authority and the chair of the obscure Affordable Homes Partnership to his portfolio. The AHP was a particularly nice little earner, one of the multiple social partnership quangos that broke out like a plague ....

In the AHP's first year Dr Des earned e13,000 as chairman, but his part-time reward rocketed to e30,000 in 2006 and 2007 before reverting to e25,000 in 2008. The quango was eventually disbanded in ignominy, a casualty of the Celtic collapse".

Culture of waste, cronyism, corruption needs a root and branch cost benefit analysis applied and urgently. Surely these people must be paid fairly but excessively should not be acceptable.

Liberty Hall today stands tall but what are they really doing for all the people who have become unemployed, those who are under-employed, those in the services who are being forced by companies like Starbucks, Tescos and so many other companies that avail of the favourable tax breaks and who are basically tricking staff into zero-hour contracts. The unemployed figures are reducing but it is from a high in excess of 400,000 with more than 300,000 who have emigrated. FAS (dissolved) only now is being dealt with as Solas is rolled out. We know it will have 200 people; the function being education/enhanced skill provision with the objective of providing trained personnel for work opportunities through an independent sources. However trade unions must take some responsibility towards the plight of their members now. They owe those who have paid their dues over a centenary and their duty is to function with integrity for all workers and this includes their resposibility for up-skilling the members they have who are casualties of the Celtic Tiger. That Siptu e32 mn treasury amount that is supposed to be in their bank accounts earning virtually no interest should be used for the people who need work. Crowdfunding says that they could provide some of this money and create opportunities for small to medium sized enterprises and entrepreneurhship.

Again to quote Shane Ross

'Dr Des, most of his colleagues in ICTU and some of his successors in Siptu are among the most conservative, reactionary forces in Ireland. They are no more the successors of Larkin and Connolly than Michael McDowell or Constantin Gurdgiev. The are the arch insiders, some sitting on boards to beat the band, collecting fees by the bucketful, others influencing policy at the highest level'

Seriously, we need to wake up now.

author by Beagle - Trade Unions & Integrity and Transparencypublication date Tue Nov 19, 2013 16:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shane Ross:- what a great reminder and piece of reporting on the importance of access for journalists to Freedom of Information. The cronyism, the corruption, the stand down by so many of the elites that held court in FAS head office in Baggot Street and the culture of conivance and self engrandisement that polluted all to do with creating opportunities for people looking for employment; and in particular those who are unemployed. The "sick" culture is only now being expugned and they tell us the new entity Solas is open. We must not forget that the trade unions through bench-marking gave these elites support and entrenchment. The question now for our citizens is will Solas be the mentor for post Troika Ireland ensuring that those in positions of power lead with Principles instead of Privileges as the motivational factor. Corruption must be stood down. To the Jurors who returned the verdicts yesterday on Byrne. Well done.

Principles were forfeited by the elites who wanted privileges. This includes the MNC's and the question today is what do Mandate or other trade unions for that matter actually do for people who are abused by the Labour laws so long fought for in this country?

Zero hours conracts is the mantra of the retail/service sector these days. It's great to play God and appoint a supervisor who keeps employees on their toes in that they never know how many hours they will be working in a given week. Double time is but a memory. Starbucks, Tescos are but two examples. People need to alert themselves to the human input in the chain of supply when you go for a cup of coffee, a meal, to a pub. The coffee is about cost but also there is a value quotient and that is to do with people.

I stand to be corrected by Tesco but it is my impression they pride themselves on the openings they have for workers who are impaired by intellectual disabilities. If this is so, then one would expect them to have the understanding and due diligence to make provision that people in a position of 'surveillance' are not allowed to bully, intimidate, and maliciously target people on the shop floor. For those who do not know about Sheltered Employment, I attach the following

Protect Sheltered Workshops |‎
People with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), which includes mental retardation, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, have the right to...

Shame on the trade unions who are turning a blind eye to the practices of large retail and service worker businesses.

Mandate: Do you understand exactly the injustice that is done to a person who has worked for 13 years at Tescos, and who falls into the category named above ie 'sheltered employment'. You don't.

You are in the employers' pocket. For that matter you are even in the pocket of the man who monitors the cameras in store and corporatism. If someone has worked for 13 years; surely cogniscence of their intellectual disabilities means that certain circumstances may be beyond their grasp. Does a kangaroo court of the manager, the trade union representative, the surveillance man and one other honestly and truthfully have the power to summon the person, show him the evidence, tell him to go and remove his belongings from his locker and then fire him. The crime is petty. In a trial at court, it is improbable that the case would ever leave the Garda station, let alone be approved by the DPP.

Trade Unions do your job and protect the vulnerable.

Imagine a man who dedicated to his function on the shop floor; to the people who are the customers at the location, who is given an identity where in another time he may have been institutionalised.

Mandate: Its easy to trample on the rights of the vulnerable and side with the 'team' but it is wrong, very wrong because in these times of economic hardship, this man will never get work and because he lives in the family home he is not entitled to the dole so he is made a total dependent, and is made feel like a burden. Wrong is no man's right. This is a moral wrong but also cannot be legally substantiated.


author by Hugh Murphy - Sackedbymyunionpublication date Tue Nov 19, 2013 16:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shane Ross is the sort of person who has ruined this country. Yes he can see the corruption and sometimes says something about it - but will NOT do anything about it. He is in the Dail and this is where he accused Jack O'Connor of running a "Slush Fund".

Like all the rest of the so-called Journalists they jump through hoops for money, and Slush Fund has plenty of it.

For the Truth about SIPTU go to and read how O'Connor's Union persecuted, fined sacked and sent to their deaths many Belfast Dockers. However SLUSH FUND and his journalist cronies do not want to know about this.

author by Beagle - Trade Unions Integrity and Transparencypublication date Wed Nov 20, 2013 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Matt Merrigan (HSE/SIPTU - the slush fund; McNeice settling for e9.7 million instead of the e24 million he neatly arranged for himself and his 'package' at the early age of 50. Then we have the scandal now unfurling showing that proceeds from shops in hospital locations, or for that for car-parks, have been grabbed by greedy managers in the HSE or worse groups supposedly representing the vulnerable in society.

When does the greed stop? Fear and Greed are the destroyers of our society. To see a beautiful young woman, aged only 26, a junior doctor, working excessively up to 95 hours a week having committed suicide, we must ask questions about the society we live in. It is blatantly obvious now that those last in at the time of Celtic Tiger bench-marking and when the trade unions were in their hay day, pulled the carpet up and those coming on stream were left unaided and totally disregarded. The IMO still have chosen not to hold an EGM to investigate the McNeice scenario.

This young junior doctor attached to neurology, did suffer from depression. Depression is the silent killer but it is remarkable that in Neurology in Tallaght that no one member in the medical profession identified the quite obvious warning signs in particular the level of exhaustion from insomnia and the over intensity to be present at work assisting her patients. It is not about judgement; it is about awareness. What is the IMO really doing for the younger doctors; they are the trade union and we know they overly indulged the 'privileged' members and no doubt themselves.

To the Parents of Dr Jessica Murphy aged only 26, thank you for raising the issue at Dublin Coroner's Court, it is most unselfish and her memory deserves this. Her parents told the coroner Dr Brian Farrell that she worked 95 hours a week. Following the inquest, Marian Murphy said that her daughter had been "put under too much pressure".

author by Blake - Trade Unions & Integritypublication date Mon Dec 30, 2013 16:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The bigger the financial deal secured in negotiation; the greater the contributions for the trade unions.

It is beyond credibility that the issue of the IMO, George McNeice, former Chief Executive, Merrigan and the HSE slush fund with SIPTU, receive so little media attention.

It is evident that a powder keg exists with a significant number of self appointed elite managers, politicians and mandarins who have nurtured cocoons both for their present salaries and their pension deals going forward that divide them, through their organisation and planning based on their self needs, from other mere mortals and in particular the poor and the vulnerable.

2014 is the year for self realisation and let that be for people on both sides of that invisible fence. Adam Smith's Invisible Hand is in the shadows and the Scales of Justice are so heavilty weighted by white collar criminal practice; social welfare fraud; and the silent one that must now be outed ie healthcare fraud.

The trail starts as follows and let's start asking questions now?

McNeice negotiated his deal down from £20+ million to £9.7 million. The man was Chief Executive at the Irish Medical Organisation - a trade union for doctors and consultants. Why did so few doctors fail to place checks and balances on his level of power; or should we say abuse of power, an abuse of power quite evidently shared by those who had secured their privileged deals within their privileged profession. The young doctors were not considered. The EU law was ignored because it provided the fodder for the higher up's who needed cover in their public/private professions using private beds in publics hospitals and no doubt using young doctors on the basis of Grace and Favour. We need equality; we need to urgently realise that a society treat their vulnerable.

Zero contract hours have become the order of the day in the retail sector. If the IMO could exploit their young newly trained medical doctors by failing to comply with the EU laws, what does it say for other vulnerable people in Ireland.

To the parents of the young doctor just qualified - a beautiful young woman harassed by long hours, stress, anxiety and no support in Tallaght hospital. What do we really want to say? Suicide is a life sentence for a family who remain behind. We often think that doctors are above suicide but the truth is the profession stigmatise, deny and hide away from the fact that many of their fold are lost to suicide. To study medicine in Ireland requires much study and huge expense both to families, to students and to the taxpayers. For the IMO to shelter the elites at the expense of the younger and more vulnerable is an absolute disgrace.

Professor Crown - I commend you using Senate Privilege and verbalising the truth about the healthcare fraud that is eating away at the heart of our medical system. We need more whistleblowers; we need to hone in on the quangos, the charities, the people who pretend to care for the vulnerable but who are the worst exploiters of same.

The HSE has fostered out its functions to too many charities/NGO's/Church groups etc, each of whom has to have its own corporate type board of directors and nominees. Bureaucracy is smothering the potential of the HSE to operate without the scandals of abuse of power that can be identified regarding those with mental health issues, those with addiction, those who are homeless. The Pentecostal Church and their regime of recruiting down and outs and remodelling them....needs urgent attention. The Hade family and their Church and the courses they run for people with drug addiction; the fact that Dublin City Councils provides houses without proper regulation through their organisation needs attention.

2014 must be the year that we tackle the endemic cronyism, corruption, abuse of power, in managerialism in particular.

To conclude:

Mental health is sidelined because we have no real voice.

A diagnosis at one time said to St Lomans or other places you must go and never return. 20,000 people found themselves incarcerated up to the 1980's. However, there were promises that Community Care would cater for these people as they were encouraged to leave the hospitals.
This Christmas, ask yourself about these people. Look at the homeless on our streets and sidelined to the hostels. Look at those in the HSE care homes. How can it be that their hair has not been washed for weeks, their clothers are dirty, they are unkept. Their teeth are rotten from the medications. Yet we have a Government that target mental health because it is easy to say less funds for them. What about the Horizon programme that researched the re-integration of people with mental health problems back into society completed in the 1990's? What happens in Germany?

Ireland must stand ashamed. Rotten teeth through medications stigmatises and guarantees that there will be no return to the workforce for these people.

author by Honour - Trade Unions and Integritypublication date Sun Jan 26, 2014 16:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Matt Merrigan (HSE/SIPTU - the slush fund; McNeice settling for e9.7 million instead of the e24 million he neatly arranged for himself and his 'package' at the early age of 50. Then we have the scandal now unfurling showing that proceeds from shops in hospital locations, or for that for car-parks, have been grabbed by greedy managers in the HSE or worse groups supposedly representing the vulnerable in society.

Now we have scandals emerging about corruption in An Garda Siochana; scandals within certain charities, and yet nobody comments on the excessive pension pots that have to sustain those paid to the likes of George McNeice and so many others. It is fair to say that McNeice's special deal for himself at age 50 has provided the model for others especially the consultants in our hospitals and now the charities often funded by the HSE. Trade union officials fall into this category and it is their own vested interests and their pension deals that are secured.

Excellent article in the Sunday Times today by Matt Cooper - a must read for all people with disabilities. Day after day we hear about Rehab and yet the silence is deafening from the people who are supposed to benefit most from such a charity. Why such silence?

Ms Kerins, Chief Executive, Rehab relies heavily on the State for funds but it is commercial endeavours that provides the majority of the funds to Rehab and its various subsets. It is this that allows her as head of Rehab to earn in line with others in the semi-state sector and beyond - this is her excuse!

Industries are developing at the expense of the vulnerable. We have the homeless industry, the asylum industry, we have the supposed industry in Rehab that creates education and work for people with disabilities but there is no transparency. We don't know where these people work; what the conditions are? Is the arrangement that the shops that sell the lottery tickets i.e according to the Mail 4 million contribution from the Exchequer through Charitable Lotteries fund at 0.25% return? Could these people be working for the like to Tescos, Superquinn? Do they work in shops or are they working in warehouses? What do the trade unions contribute to the protection of these people is a question we all should ask now especially before the Public Accounts Committee hearing for Ms Kerins and Rehab.

So that people with disabilities and their significant others have some comprehension of the disparity in pay scales, pensions, expenses, car provision involve, I will quote from Matt Cooper's article and research today. Ms Kerins is in the news because consistently she refuses to reveal her salary. However, she was forced to reveal same in 2011.

'Back in 2011, Kerr revealed only the most basic details of the Chief Executive's salary, without giving details of all the add-ons such as bonuses, expenses, health insurance, pension contributions and car provision that bulk up executive pay in many commercial outfits. A total pay package of up to £400,000 was speculated upon, but confirmation will most likely come in an appearance at the Oireachtas committee'

Kerr and Kerins are stonewalling so that information is not made available. We need to hear about what benefits apply to those who have disabilities. The transparency is essential and the truth is it is not forthcoming other than within the auspices of PR spin.

Trade Unions stand accountable too. Two tierism is endemic. The privileged stand against those with principles.

author by Curiosity - Ordinary workerspublication date Sat Mar 01, 2014 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Watching some news this week, many people were shocked at the salary of Angela Kerins and also the arrogance of the other directors who would not disclose their salaries or those with pension pots during the PAC committee.

MaryLou McDonald asked a very important question. Kerins went to the Labour Court to reduce the salaries of ordinary vulnerable people in 2011. Yet her own salary was topped up by 6,000 euros. MaryLou asked Ms Kerins to clarify and did not get any clarity, good bad or indifferent, from Kerins. Frank Flannery, Kenny's Guru, was asked to attend the PAC committee and refused. Yet, he was seen in the Dail on the same day. This again shows the blatant arrogance of the elites in modern Ireland.

Kerins went on to say she did not accept her bonsues of £88,000. Bonuses for what? I again ask where are the trade unions to protect the people who work just the same as the ones that work for pittance on the JobBridge schemes.

Siptu and Mandate seem to have a cosy relationship with certain organisations. This to me is not acceptable to people with disabilities or any worker who is asked to work for 50 euros extra on top of their JobSeekers allowance. I hope Kerins is asked back again by the PAC committee and this time she must bring Frank Flannery with her because Irish taxpayers need to know where 85 million of their money goes that is given to Rehab annually


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