Why does Labour support emergency laws to shackle unions?
The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation of 2009 was the most anti worker legislation ever passed in this state, targeting public sector wages and conditions. The recent 2015 bill, supported by Fine Gael and Labour, cemented these attacks on public sector workers in legislation for a further period.
Under the recently agreed Lansdowne Road Agreement, paltry pay increases were agreed for public sector workers, which will run until 2018. Meanwhile changes to working conditions introduced over the last few years and the Pension Levy remain in place. The recent FEMPI legislation puts these increases into law, but also allows the government to punish workers who are outside of this agreement by imposing draconian measures such as pay cuts in the form of delayed increments.
The government is continuing with its policy of austerity when it comes to the pay and conditions of public sector workers, while at the same time saying that the economy is in recovery. It continues to hide behind a supposed “Financial Emergency” in order to pursue the draconian provisions of this legislation, supported by most of the trade union leadership.
People Before Profit supports TUI members in their recent protest and ongoing campaign against the chronic underfunding of the Institutes of Technology (35% cut to sector- €190m – between 2008 and 2015) and against the precarious employment status, income poverty and associated exploitation of many academic staff.
The new FEMPI legislation punishes unions and workers such as teachers in the TUI who have not signed agreements such as the Lansdowne Road Agreement, by withholding the promised restoration of pay for substitution and supervision hours.
The FEMPI legislation from its inception in 2009 represented an attack on workers. Rather than voting for this legislation, People Before Profit believe FEMPI should be repealed immediately. Trade unions should be seeking to have all the provisions of previous agreements, from Croke Park to Haddington Road to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, reversed.