SIPTU and CPSU launch housing campaign

One contender for the best show-stopping speech at the Dublin Private Sector Regional Conference in October, was, strange as it may seem, the Regional Secretary's report. Or that part of it where Jack Nash dealt with the housing crisis. His personal experience of hunting for a flat for a student relative, amid the crammed, rackrented private rental market in Dublin, had outraged him. He had decided to get even as well as angry and called for a campaign for student and social housing, and price reduction.

He reproduced a notice he found in Rathmines, put up on a lamppost, in which a "professional couple" offered a £50 reward for information leading to a flat! A point he made was that even if the unions sought rises that would break some companies, they would still not cover the rise in house prices for workers. Action was needed to lower housing costs to workers.

SIPTU and the Civil and Public Service Union have now joined forces to campaign for an alleviation of the housing crisis. Whether or not this is a follow-up to Jack Nash's proposals we do not know, but anyway the move is to be welcomed and members should - if the initiative ever moves from the press conference to the material world - get fully involved. An information booklet has been glossily published by the two unions.

Of course the initiative comes complete with the usual stuff about co- operation with, and self-limitation of, the building industry. David Hanley on 'Morning Ireland' (RTE Radio, 4th November) asked Des Geraghty whether he was living "in cloud-cuckoo land" when he advocated self-limitation of the builders?

Des was adamant that there already was self-limitation in some areas of the industry, and then pointed to the self-limitation of the unions on wage and social demands under Partnership. Why do Four Courts and two building workers come to mind?

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