UNITE MANDATE and the CPSU Call for No in the Austerity Treaty Referendum
Three major trade unions with combined membership of more than 100,000 have issued a strong call to vote no in Thursday’s referendum on what they are calling the austerity treaty.
The Civil and Public Service Union (CPSU), Mandate and UNITE trade unions represent workers across the private and public sector and a wide range of industries from retail to transport and finance.
UNITE Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:
“The Treaty is only about austerity and does not have any provisions relating to growth.”
“It has been rushed in as a panic measure. No less than ten Euro zone countries have now slipped back into recession.”
“The problem with the treaty is that it enshrines the very policies that have caused that recession to get deeper and more damaging.”
“Ireland has a chance to say No, and to pull Europe back from the brink of economic self harm it has been engaged in to disastrous effect over the past three years.”
Mandate General Secretary, John Douglas said that the Fiscal Treaty if passed will not create one job:
“On the contrary it will legally lock down Irish economic activity at its current levels, and may even shrink domestic demand further leading to mass unemployment, decades of emigration and sow the seeds for future social conflict.
“This Treaty has nothing to do with ‘good housekeeping’ or ‘managing the household budget’; it is about copper fastening into an internationally legally binding agreement, decades of austerity, social exclusion, mass long term unemployment and emigration – and a continuation of attacks on workers’ rights and the welfare system. It is not about what is good for Irish citizens, or the citizens of Europe, it is a treaty of the Right for the Right!”
CPSU General Secretary Eoin Ronayne said:
“The Treaty amounts to writing into law the failed policies of the neo liberals who got us into the mess we are in.”
“Why on earth would lower and middle income people vote to make their lives even worse than they already are”
“What the ordinary citizens of the EU need is a sustained and comprehensive growth package putting money back into their pockets so that they can spend in their local economies generating jobs and protecting existing employment”
“Nothing in this Treaty will do that and a NO vote is the only way for people to stand up and say we’ve had enough of what got us into this crisis and that it’s time for change”
Each of the three unions has been working with activists and workplace representatives to encourage debate among members and present a balance to the government messaging that there is no choice but to say yes.
Mandate has produced a short video message and is mailing 25,000 members with a leaflet this weekend explaining the reasons behind the union’s stance. UNITE is also sending messages to each of its 50,000 members in the Republic of Ireland while the CPSU is similarly communicating that there is an alternative to austerity.
Report of a Debate on the Austerity Treaty at the CPSU Conference, April 27-28 2012 :
In a robust debate at the CPSU annual delegate conference in Cork today, conference backed a motion calling for the union to campaign for a ‘No’ vote in the forthcoming referendum on the Fiscal treaty.
Supporting the motion, Terry Murphy (OPW branch) said “Meeting this target will mean the imposition of such severe austerity that it will undermine the economy as a while and significantly deepen the crisis” said Murphy
This treaty will effectively write into law that neither the current or any future government will be allowed to invest in jobs ,he said
This treaty will require, added Murphy, the absolute decimation of public services.
It will also affect the rights of people to elect any government that does not adhere to the neo-liberal agenda, added Murphy.
Dave Meehan (An Post) said that the structural deficit target imposed by the treaty will mean €5.7 billion worth of cuts.
“This will mean 10 more years of unemployment and emigration” said Keane.
Eoin Ronayne, general secretary, said that “essentially the treaty means the imposition into Irish law of a draconian, right-wing agenda that will shackle this country to an impossible deficit to maintain”.
Now the right wing government in Europe of Merkel and Sarkozy are imposing conditions on our country trying to get itself out of the mess that was created not by ordinary workers but by speculators and by those that borrowed recklessly on the international monetary markets, said Ronayne.
However, Ronayne said that we are stuck with the decision of previous governments to get themselves into an economy programme with EU. That money will run out in 2014. The condition of joining the stability fund is that you sign up for this treaty, he explained
So on the one hand, while this treaty is anti-worker and nothing that we can sign up to as a trade union “in Ireland because of the way we were managed by our previous governments and now the new government we are stuck in a process where there appears to be no alternative” said the CPSU general secretary.
Other unions such as Mandate, the TEEU and Unite have come out against the treaty while Siptu has adopted to a ‘wait and see’ approach to see if the treaty is accompanied by an investment in jobs. IIMPACT has come out in favour pointing out that if we don’t have money from Europe in 2014 we don’t pay public servants, said Ronayne.
“it’s a case of damned if we do and damned if we don’t” said Ronayne leaving it up to the delegates to decide whether they want to campaign actively against the treaty or not.
Sinead McKenna (An Post) was critical of what she saw as ICTU’s lack of leadership on the issue when it left it up to each union to decide their own policy towards the Treaty.
“Shame on Ictu for not showing leadership” said McKenna.
McKenna also reminded Taoiseach Enda Kenny that for low paid workers “the sky is already falling in”.
“keep your hands off our increments and out of our pockets” said McKenna.
Terry Kelleher (An Post) said that the treaty will mean even more cuts and urged the delegates to support the motion and “make a brave decision”.
Pat Ormond said that under austerity he was tired of deaths by a thousand cuts and said he could not be hurt any further if the treaty wasn‘t passed.