Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm Fxcking angry and pissed off!

As a public sector worker in the South I am totally pissed off with the manner in which my union has behaved in relation to the pre budget negotiations.

My union held a national ballot, organised meetings and sent out literature about the position of the union leadership in relation to the planned government cuts to public sector pay. In all of the above the argument was put forward that such cuts were not fair and must be rejected in favour of a fairer tax system whereby the wealthier members of the country would pay more, because they could afford it!

I stood with many others holding official union placards that said no to pay cuts and yes to fairer taxation. It was on this basis that people voted to strike and walked out in their hundreds of thousands. To us the argument was sound and we were taking a principled stand.


Yet what happened? Our leaders then go into negotiations and put forward a proposal whereby public sector workers would have to take 12 days compulsory leave without pay! This is a pay cut and anybody with a brain can see that.

By taking this step the union leaders had moved away from the agreed principled position already mentioned and accepted that the public sector pay bill needed to be reduced. At one stroke they had undermined their/our position. This was madness!!!

As soon as I heard this was happening I said this will not be agreed and the government will hum ha and then walk away. Which is exactly what they did. SURPRISE!!

The reason they can safely walk away is that they can now simply turn around and say ,"Look you accepted the need for the pay bill to be reduced, but unfortunately your way will not work. So all that is left is pay cuts. Sorry."

And in response what can the union bosses say, "Umm umm No that's not right. We have tried to be reasonable. We don't really believe cutting pay is important anymore."

To which the media will go, "Ha ha ha. Now we have you. Now we have ya."


When I try to understand what has happened to my union since the crisis began, I am left confused.

Firstly we had the behaviour around the pay cuts via the increased pension payments.

When this step was announced by the government the unions took weeks to organise a response. They got over 100,000 people on the streets opposing these cuts eventually got around to organising a ballot for strike action. But what happened? Nothing. One union did not have a big enough majority for strike action and that was it.

In my opinion this was NOT the result of poor leadership on the part of the unions. Rather the union leadership actually accepted the logic of the cuts and that wait. game over.

Secondly we have the farce around the cuts coming up in the budget. For me there is only one explanation for what happened and that is the leadership never believed what they were originally telling their members. they never actually believed in fairer taxation and making the rich pay and one of the reasons for that is possibly the high pay of many of those union leaders. For some info check here


So now what. Well the only thing for people to do is get active in their union. Every branch member should demand to know why the leadership are behaving as they are. If they believe in the cuts agenda, well be honest about it and convince us. If they don't support the cuts agenda then why are they just rolling over every time the government makes another attack on working people. And if we don't like their answers then we should kick them out of office and put in people who will fight for working people.


  1. The Union's have behaved in a despicable manner, but lets be honest, we all secretly expected them to betray both worker's and the worst off in society from the first day of action of the ICTU "Get Up, Stand Up" campaign.

    The simple fact is that the trade union leadership enter social partnership accepting the idea of not just pay cuts, but job cuts. The game they are playing is simply to soften the impact of the X number of job cuts and drop in pay.

    I agree that every trade union member in the country who wants to save to job and income should be LASHING the local branch and demanding a new union leadership.

  2. You're political, fight for the leadership of your branch with likeminded comrades from whichever group or none. Put forward your position clearly. Just do it! Shout out loud and confront! Bobby Sands did it with his life. Workers Republic ABu.

  3. that 12 days unpaid leave was a daft idea from the unions.
    It didnt really make much sense. It as u say accepted the logic of the pay cuts will putting forward a hair brained scheme on how to implement them.

    End game was the govt cuts were made to look like a lot more sense, were a lot more practical and the union just looked daft.

    12 days leave. How was that going to be arranged and rostered. When an idea is that stupid then its stupid for a reason in my opinion.

  4. i work in a factory. i've been on a 3 day week since the start of summer thats 100 unpaid day's of a year.... ok i get suplement of the labour but still. if the unions had have got this deal accepted they would have protected the rate of pay. the fact that the government and the media rejected it is proff that the establishment don't want to make savings, they could have with this, they want to drive pay conditions down as in how much a man gets paid for an hour.

    how it could have been rostered. 12 days at 8 hours a day is 96 hours 192 half hours etc etc

    the consequence of this will probably be a more militant type of union, new leaders etc. the budget is this week are the unions going to have an all out strike, are there members strong enough for it, how long can they sustain it, if at all or are they going to use other industrial actions and try and drag the process out.

    everyone who has been waiting for 'revolution' for the last few decades and you know who you are, here you go, don't fuck it up.

  5. I suppose this is the time for change. How this change will play out over time is anybody's guess. The Neo-Lib Capitalists are driving the change agenda, and as one poster pointed out this is not about making savings or rationalising our public purse. This situation is merely an excuse to drive down the overall wage bills in the economy, including the private sector. (Though it must be said that many private sector workers, who now consider themselves respectable middle classes, can't see the bigger picture. We've only passed through the 1st phase of trickle down economics. Look at the US middle classes to see what eventually happens during further phases. These people will only wake up when its too late. Ordinary wage earners, whatever the level of their pay packet, who aware need to start organising and fighting their corner right now.)

    [shameless plug: I have a few charts over at that show how income disparity has grown since Reagan took office. It's returned to pre-depression days where the top 10% take 50% of the wealth. + other charts and graphs to gander at.]

    Remember a Capitalist motto: never waste a good emergency. The capitalists created this "emergency" and they want to use it to further redistribute value in society from workers to themselves. The public purse gravy train has collapsed, and many private sector profiteers feed mightly off tax payer's money during the Toxic Tiger years. They know this source of easy money is gone and they need to find another source to exploit. People's wages are a start.

    As regards the Unions, the entire Partnership structure was and is a sham; a con. A partner has equal rights and equal say. Does anyone think remotely believe that the govt, IBEC and et. al. seriously considered workers as equals? The monied vested interests in society need the money for themselves and their bankers. Worker's pockets are too easily picked these days.

    Tis time to wake up and smell the coffee.