That's partnership


1. Hot on the heels of the National Centre for Partnership's seminar on 'Partnership at Enterprise Level' on 9th June (see 'SIPTU Fightback' No.7), the ICTU held a series of seminars of its own on the same theme. The Dublin seminar on 8th July featured a presentation (joint, of course) on the Poolbeg power station agreement which - according to the accompanying literature - transformed an industrial relations blackspot and prefigured the ESB Cost and Competitiveness Review. The presentation showed that, if anything, the agreement originated not from 'partnership' but from intimidation: the government's threat to hand the new Poolbeg plant over to an outside contractor.

After the Cost and Competitiveness Review is well bedded-in, the government/ESB are still using bullyboy tactics with their 'partners' in particular power stations. When the changes they sought were not fully delivered the government threatened to close the Ferbane power station in Co. Offaly. Big job losses were paraded across the headlines. One principled person was demonised. There was very little attention given to the fact that the plan the ESB and government were pushing also included large job cuts. That's partnership!

2. Two workplaces in the Dublin Electronics and Engineering Branch were present (shop stewards and managers) at the National Centre's seminar in June, Tinsley Wire and MPI Metal Powders. Three months later Tinsley management announced to their partners that they were cutting the workforce by 28 and seeking extra productivity from the remainder. Since then they have refused to improve the offer of two-and-a-half-weeks severance per year of service (it used to be four-and-a-half-weeks).

MPI had a follow-up partnership forum on the job on 4th September. The SIPTU Partnership Team met the members there, but things reportedly degenerated a little. Someone from the floor pointed out that partnership was based on trust and he couldn't trust a company that he thought had broken every agreement they ever had (an 'unrepresent-ative moraliser' no doubt). Someone else inquired what planet the conductors of the session were on. This was taken up by calls of 'beam me up, Scotty'. That's partnership.

3. Staying in the same parish, the SIPTU Partnership and Work Reorganisation Team have written to all Branches seeking two nominations from each Branch Committee to be part of the network (no, not that network) of shop stewards and reps. who are involved in the Partnership Forums. The Electronics and Engineering Branch postponed any action on this letter until after a Branch Committee debate on partnership.

Incidentally, the same Branch passed a Motion at its AGM last March that the Union should pull out of P2000. To date no acknowledgement of receipt of the motion, from the "parliament of the Branch", has come back from Head Office. That's SDI !!

Slow Delivery of Internal mail. Sure they're Daft In that Branch.

4. In relation to their 17th November Report, IBEC's Mr. Brian Geoghegan said a moratorium on all new employment legislation would allow us (!) to avoid the push from Europe towards a directive on information consultation which many employers feel would alter the balance between themselves and trade unions. That's partnership!

5. Budget Surplus. Ward closures. .That's partnership!


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