Cork WP express concern about attacks on trade unions

The Cork Regional Council of the Workers' Party has  issued the following circular in relation to anti-union comments from a minority of anti-austerity campaigners

There has been much comment following the recent ICTU-organised rallies against bank debt and austerity. In particular there has been debate on the role of the anti-Household Charge campaign and other anti-austerity groups in the march.


The Workers’ Party is concerned that some minority elements of the Household Charge campaign are engaging in attacks on the trade union movement.  These elements also seem intent on using the campaign to promote their own electoral ambitions.   We support the campaign against the household charge, property and water taxes and have been active in it since the beginning.  Our 30 year track record in opposing such stealth charges is without equal. We believe that it was right for the campaign to participate in the rally on February 9th and in similar marches. However we do not support union-bashing and we stand with the many thousands of trade unionists in their struggle against austerity, in defence of workers’ rights and for social justice. 


The Workers’ Party believes that the trade unions, with 600,000 members, can and should play a major role in fighting austerity.  After all, trade union members are bearing a considerable burden as a result of the banking bailout and the EU/IMF deal.   However, we are dismayed by the recent comments by ICTU General Secretary David Begg in support of the new property tax and his arrogant dismissal of those opposed to it.  We view his comments as unrepresentative of rank and file trade unionists and contradictory of his stated opposition to austerity.


Instead of an unfair Property Tax, the Workers Party calls for a progressive Wealth Tax to be imposed on the super rich.  This should target real wealth such as investment property, works of art, racehorses, yachts, holiday villas, etc.  We believe that the modest family home should be exempt from such a tax. 


Unfortunately some in the leadership of the trade union movement have become wedded to the so-called Partnership process which has been a disaster for workers.   We believe that the close relationship between some unions and the Labour Party is outdated and anti-democratic.  The recent comments by SIPTU President Jack O’Connor, supporting Labour Party involvement in government fails to recognise the disastrous impact of the FG / Labour coalition’s cuts and charges on most trade union members and those dependent on social welfare.  


The Workers’ Party believes that the trade union movement is the natural ally of the working class and the poor.  We believe that it should be in the vanguard of the fight against austerity, against privatisation of our state assets and natural resources and that it should lead a very vocal and determined campaign for the creation of real jobs (not schemes or internships).  We call upon rank and file trade unionists to rise to support the anti-austerity campaign, to fight for a stronger position to be adopted by their union leaders and an end to the closeness with government and employers.  We do so in solidarity and comradeship, not from a position of attack.


Workers Unite!


The Workers’ Party (Cork Region)

February 2013

Cllr. Ted Tynan, tel: (086) 1908281

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics