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UNITE Letter to Opposition Party Leaders November 29, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

Michael Taft wrote the following which neatly frames the UNITE letter to Opposition Party Leaders. UNITE and Kelly have been particularly activist in combating the measures implemented or proposed by the Government. The letter itself makes a case that all progressives and leftists should be well able to support.

Today Jimmy Kelly, Regional Secretary of the trade union UNITE, sent a letter to the leaders of the opposition parties – Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein. In it he called on them to make clear that they will not be bound by the terms of the IMF/EU bail-out. He further called on them to commit to re-opening negotiations based on the following principles:

(a) That the Irish Government will refuse to be bound by the debts generated by the banking sector, and

(b) Ring-fence the cash and assets available to the state in the National Pension Reserve Fund and the National Treasury Management Agency’s cash balances. These should be used for economic and social investment only and not to pay off the deficit or write-down debt.

The text of the letter is below.

* * *

On behalf of the UNITE trade union, I am writing to ask that your party declare they will not be bound by the agreement reached yesterday with the EU and the IMF. This agreement is not in the interests of the Irish economy, Irish workers or the Eurozone.

We are further asking that prior to the general election your party declare they will re-open negotiations based on the following principles:

(1) The Irish Government will refuse to be bound by debts generated in the banking sector. If no satisfactory mechanism can be agreed with the IMF and the EU, the Irish Government will engage in a substantial write-down of debt held by all bondholders – including both senior and subordinated debt;

(2) The cash and assets held in the National Pension Reserve Fund and the National Treasury Management Agency’s cash balance will be ring-fenced for public investment in the Irish economy. These resources will not be employed for deficit or debt reduction purposes as this will only undermine our ability to generate growth and employment and, so, defeat the objective of repairing our public finances.

UNITE believes that only by removing banking debt from the public balance sheet and employing our cash and assets for investment purposes can we hope to achieve economic recovery and fiscal stability.

I look forward to receiving your response which I will pass on to our 60,000 members in the Republic.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Jimmy Kelly
UNITE Regional Secretary


1. Tim Johnston - November 29, 2010

It’s very good. I wonder if any of the parties will be brave enough to bite?


2. Niall - November 30, 2010

Doubt it. Still, they need to be given the opportunity.


3. CL - November 30, 2010

Chopra has said that the IMF did not propose cutting the minimum wage but it is in the agreement.
Varadkar has said that F.G is opposed to the cut. Its unclear if Labour is opposed.
As the minimum wage puts a floor under all wages cutting it is an attack on all workers standard of living. Is Labour going to go along with this?


4. Jim Monaghan - November 30, 2010

The letter should have been sent to Beggs and O’Connor who were effectively part of teh current coalition until quite recently.
A fightback means clearing out the old guard and their “partnership” ways. The habit of compromise is deep.
A fightback for me means an ULa IN EACH AND EVERY UNION.


5. Michael Taft - November 30, 2010

CL – Fine Gael is opposed to cutting the minimum wage but they support ‘reform’ of the JLCs which are the floor for nearly 200,000 workers. Such reform will see a driving down of rates/conditions. That is where the real action will be. Labour is also opposed to cutting the minimum wage but I’m unsure if they will reverse any cut once they enter office. However, they support a wage freeze in the private sector for three years. Put all this together, and it amounts to a significant downward pressure on all wages in years to come, as you point out. Couple that with cuts in family income supports and regressive tax increases and its hard to see how the domestic economy will be able to emerge from the recession in the short-term.


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