A letter to Labour TDs

DCU Section Committee received the following copy of a letter, sent by a Dublin Trades Council member and addressed to Labour TDs, about the proposed legislation to target public servants who do not accept the Haddington Road proposals.

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill will be debated tomorrow (Wednesday, May 29th) in the Dail. There will be a lobby outside the Dail at 5pm calling on TDs not to pass this legislation.

To Labour Party TDs,

I am writing to you regarding the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill which is to come before the Dail tomorrow. A central plank of Labour Party policy over many years has been the right of workers to join trade unions and to have these unions recognised by employers for the purpose of free collective bargaining. The Bill that is to be presented to the Dail on Wednesday would deny that right to a section of the Government’s own employees. It is proposed therein that workers in any sector of the public service where trade union members vote to reject what is currently on offer from the Labour Relations Commission will have pay cuts and worsened conditions of service imposed upon them by the Government, in addition to further draconian penalties. Such anti-trade union measures are in complete contravention of Labour Party policy.

It is proposed that collective rights for workers, secured after decades of struggle by trade union and Labour activists, are to be cast aside. Should Labour TDs vote for this Bill they will bring disgrace and [obloquy] on the Labour Party.

It is one hundred years since the workers of Dublin fought for the right to belong to a trade union. Those workers in 1913 who did not sign a document separating themselves from their union paid a big price. The actions of William Martin Murphy and his fellow employers are remembered with ignominy. Labour Party TDs  should pause to consider the implications of what they are being asked to agree to. If they support this legislative attack on workers’ rights the Labour Party will in the minds of trade union members be similarly associated with an attack on democratic rights. The Labour Party, which was founded by Larkin, Connolly and other trade union activists, must not only oppose this Bill but should join with their fellow trade unionists outside the Dail with the common objective to maintain the democratic rights of workers.

I trust that in the interest of the general Labour and trade union movement that Labour Party TDs will make known their opposition to the Financial Measures in the Public Interest Bill and will vote to reject it in the Dail.

Fraternally,

Finbar Geaney
Dublin Bay North and Dublin Trades Council

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