We can't go on not meeting like this

If you are happy with the way SIPTU works, enjoy wage restraint, love 'social partnership', see no need for solidarity with fellow members in dispute, think the Industrial Relations Act is an excellent piece of law, and are upset by militant action like the builders took when two of their colleagues were jailed... stay at home and watch Coronation Street.

But, if like us, you are sick of the nonsense that we are 'partners' with our bosses, and that tiny pay rises are all we should expect while record profits are being declared.. you should come along and meet others who feel the same. Things have got so bad that the biggest union in the country wouldn't even sort out Ryanair.

No great saviour will appear in a puff of smoke and fix SIPTU. It's going to be done by ordinary members, or it won't happen at all. If the union really is the members, the members should have a real sense of ownership and control.

Sixteen months ago three SIPTU members decided that something should be done. We knew we weren't on our own, over one third of members have consistently voted against the 'social partnership' agreements. But those who want a more combative and democratic union often feel isolated. Very few know other activists from outside their own workplace or branch.

Instead of waiting for someone else to "do something", we decided to do our bit. The first 'SIPTU Fightback' last year was posted out to about 100 people in the union who we thought might be interested in what we were doing. A lot of you seem to have liked it, our mailing list has jumped to about 450 people.

When we started this project we decided that we were not going to provide a neverending service for everyone else. Our hope is to work with other activists to improve our union - not to work for them.

Now it's time to move on to the next step - getting more people involved in this bulletin and beginning the work of building that network of militants within our union. So come along and meet us. We won't be trying to pressgang you into anything, the meeting will be informal - an opportunity to meet each other and share ideas.

We were not a front for any political party (some of us are in political organisations, some are not), and we don't want to ever become anyone's front. We want to help build a network of activists for change, a network open to people with political affiliations and to people with none. We do, however, have definite viewpoints, the core of which is opposition to 'social partnership'. "The bosses are not our partners" (as we never tire of saying).

So, if you are in SIPTU and see a lot of room for improvement in our union, come along and check it out.

Alan MacSimóin

SIPTU Fightback readers meeting

8.30pm Thursday Dec. 3rd, Bachelor Inn (upstairs), Bachelors Walk, Dublin 1.

To the SIPTU Fightback page