In return for an agreement forcing LUAS staff to join SIPTU (and no other union, like the ILDA-ATGWU!), SIPTU official Noel Dowling has agreed "there will be no industrial action of any form during the life-time of this agreement" and "any form of industrial action will lead to immediate removal from the payroll and could render any employee involved in such action liable to summary dismissal".
Where is the democracy in being forced to accept deals you had no say in? What is the point of being in a union which declares it won't use its muscle to better the lot of its members? What sort of union agrees that anyone going on strike or working to rule should be sacked?
The top brass in SIPTU seem to have forgotten why we have unions. They are more interested in getting the members' weekly contributions than in actually helping the members to improve their wages and conditions. If ever we had proof of the different interests of the bureaucracy and of the membership, this is it.
Sometimes activity within our unions can be boring, demoralising, and appear to be a waste of time. But we should remember that the reason the bosses (and many of ëour own' bureaucrats) are so eager to castrate them is because of the tremendous power they could have.
If we manage to wrest control from the bureaucrats currently strangling them, they will prove to be one of our best weapons in the battle for a free and equal society. And this starts with convincing our fellow workers to take more control at workplace and section committee level.
by Alan MacSimoin (SIPTU member)
This edition is No82 published in September 2004