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WSM Greetings to Independent Workers Union conference

category ireland / britain | workplace struggles | press release author Sunday April 09, 2006 19:29author by WSM IWU members - IWU Report this post to the editors

The 3rd conference of the Indepedent Workers Union took place in Dublin this Saturday. The Workers Solidarity Movement extended our solidarity and ongoing support for the work of the IWU.

Unity is strength

On the occasion of the Independent Workers Union’s 3rd Annual Conference, the Workers Solidarity Movement extends our solidarity and ongoing support for the work of the IWU.

Over the course of the past 3 years the IWU has firmly established itself as a force to be reckoned with. By standing firmly in the anti-partnership camp and by refusing to be part of the cosy consensus through which government has strangled much of the life out of the mainstream trade union movement, the IWU has done much to re-kindle the spirit of real trade unionism.

The displacement of jobs and the ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of employment standards has emerged as a huge challenge for the trade union movement over the past 12 months. Irish Ferries, GAMA, ESB, Spencer Dock have merely been the most prominent of these. Anecdotal evidence and the experience of IWU activists shows that super-exploitation is taking place all over the economy – and especially in the construction industry, and in the retail and catering sectors.

The response of the official trade union movement has been pathetic. Calls for the government to appoint more labour inspectors and for so-called social partnership to agree measures to ‘protect labour standards’ are worse than useless. The state will always serve the interests of capital, the only way in which workers’ rights and labour standards can ever be protected is by trade unions recruiting all workers into our ranks and by fighting aggressively to defend and protect employment standards.

The Independent Workers Union can be a leading force in this battle. The challenge facing us is to organise the unorganised, and to stand firmly shoulder to shoulder with all workers – Irish and immigrant – against exploitation.

A strong base has been laid over the past couple of years. As we move forward, the IWU can become a beacon of hope for the working class – an independent, fighting democratic union which is not afraid to stand proudly on the side of the exploited.

Issued by members of the Workers Solidarity Movement active in the IWU in Cork and Dublin

author by The Countpublication date Mon Apr 10, 2006 22:46Report this post to the editors

The thrust of this piece - that the top priority has to be to organise workers into unions - has to be right. My own view is that the last thing Ireland needs is more trade unions - we need better trade unions and trade unionists, and the IWU, at best, is a diversion from productive activity within the ICTU unions.

Anyway, enough of what I think. Could we have some membership numbers for the IWU? I know that numbers aren't everything, but they are interesting none the less.

Could we also have some idea as to where and in what sectors this recruitment is going on? I know there has been some activity in construction and in CIE, but are there any IWU organising campaigns actually going on?

SIPTU is starting to kick this ball around a bit, and so will the ATGWU once it is merged with Amicus. There is enough life in the mainstream unions to pull off a change to real politicised and organised unions (look at the SEIU in the US for an example).

author by Joe - WSM (personal cap)publication date Tue Apr 11, 2006 19:06Report this post to the editors

The report below answers some of your questions

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