Pay and recognition: Press on Now

The Union's National Conference in Ennis adopted a target of £5 per hour for a National Minimum Wage. Six Motions to Conference altogether demanded a National Minimum wage. At Conference, Union President Jimmy Somers said "if the Commission did not deliver he would recommend that we support any group of organised low paid workers to reach that target" (Newsline conference special, 7th October).

Jimmy also said "unless the report of the High Level Group provides for substantial and significant progress on the issue of trade union recognition then I will not be signing up to it." Later he stated that the ICTU Special Conference following the High Level Group report the future of partnership will be open to review on this issue. There were seven Motions to Conference on recognition. Motion 46 called for a review of P2000 next year in the light of the HLG Report.

More Pay

The claim and moves towards industrial action for a substantial pay increase for local authority and health craftworkers, supported by SIPTU, is yet another hole in the restrictions of P2000. Following on the nurses and construction electricians pay awards (not to mention the recent public service awards passed - or not passed - on to pensioners) the thousands of workers, particularly in the private sector, limited to 2.5% this year will want to know why the hell they're so different. All these awards, we are told, are within the terms of the PCW or P2000. How can that be?

Des Geraghty, Union Vice- President, said at the IMI Conference that 22% of members had received awards above the 9.25% of the P2000. If he meant that even half of these got basic pay rises above P2000 we say 'hurray!' but in that case why not throw away the tattered flag of P2000 altogether and let the rest of us seek a slice of the Celtic Tiger too. Not shares, not productivity, not tax concessions - wage rises!

Workplace Partnership

If only 'workplace partnership' could be put down to another end-of-millenium craze. Unfortunately it can't. The 'social partners' are determined to stuff our heads with this dangerous mythology. The ICTU had just launched its guidelines to workplace partnership. EU Commissioner P. Flynn wants Europe to follow Ireland's lead on it. The IMI devotes a seminar to it and a Berkeley Court conference brings companies and unions together on the subject (See the last issue of SIPTU Fightback).

In this issue we review this ideological onslaught (not always successful as Dr. Patrick Gonnigle's contribution to the Workplace 2000 conference was nearly as effective a debunking of workplace partnership as one could wish for). Of course the A to Z guide to the workplace (Allegro to Zoe) cuts through any ideological fog.

Correspondence to SIPTU Fightback, 22 Melrose Avenue, Dublin 3

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