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As three unions say no, ICTU to discuss common policy on Fiscal Compact

The Tánaiste has appealed directly to union members suggesting that leaders are not acting in the best interests of members.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for European Affairs Lucina Creighton and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore launch the Stability Treaty online public information campaign last week at Government buildings.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for European Affairs Lucina Creighton and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore launch the Stability Treaty online public information campaign last week at Government buildings.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE IRISH CONGRESS of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) executive council will meet tomorrow to try and agree a common position on the Fiscal Compact treaty referendum as three unions have said they will ask members to vote No at the end of next month.

Yesterday, one of the largest unions in the country the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) said it was advising members to vote No in the referendum, joining UNITE and Mandate who earlier said they would be urging members to vote against the treaty on 31 May.

The TEEU general secretary Eamon Devoy said yesterday the treaty on fiscal stability did nothing for workers and urged the government to focus on jobs and investment instead.

Earlier, UNITE regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said that the treaty would weaken Europe and enshrine austerity. Last week, the Mandate trade union general secretary John Douglas said that the treaty would lead to more job losses and further contractions in the economy.

UNITE said yesterday it would push for the executive council of ICTU – which meets tomorrow – to recommend a No vote.

This morning, RTÉ reports that the executive council of ICTU may stop short of recommending a common policy for all members and instead urge individual unions to make their own determination on the treaty.

Meanwhile, the other major union, SIPTU, has said it will support a Yes vote if an “off balance sheet stimulus plan to create tens of thousands of jobs” is introduced.

The government has said it will not engage in a bidding war over the treaty but the lack of support from unions will be a worrying development.

The Irish Times reports this morning that Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has said that in his view the advice of the union leaders was not in the best interest of members.

He echoed the concerns raised by the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney yesterday that Ireland would be more likely to need access to external funding if it voted No, funding which would not be available from the European Stability Mechanism if Ireland rejects the treaty.

Read: Do you know what the fiscal compact treaty is all about?

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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