Tuesday, March 24, 2009


On Monday the 23rd of March, 2009, the bourgeois media could triumphantly inform us that one of the states largest trade unions, IMPACT, had failed to secure the required two thirds majority to take part in strike action on Mondy 30th March organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) . The strike which is schedueled for one day only, not really long enough to have any major impact, is to demonstrate workers anger at government and employers cuts in public spending resulting in even more inferiour public services, job losses, pension levies, pay cuts and freezes etc. etc . IMPACT received a 65% majority in favour of taking part in the strike which was a mere 1% short of the two thirds needed which is ridiculous.

This rule is a liability to any form of organised fight back and, noticibaly, is undemocratic. It is a liability because it is weighted towards the benefit of the employers who only need a 35% minority to vote against strike action thus cancelling out the will of the majority who are in favour. Could anybody imagine this rule reversed. Let us say that 35% voted for strike action and 65% against and the union went ahead with the action there would be cries of undemocratic, communist dictators, union barons holding the country and their own members to ransom and may more reactionary orations. This liability rule not only applies to this particular day of action it applies, unless there is a rule change, to all strikes in the future. ICTU and the IMPACT leadership should ignore the fact that a two thirds majority was not achieved and concentrate on the democratic will of the majority and go ahead with taking part in the strike. When the time comes that a 35% minority can dictate to the 65% majority then even by the limited democratic machinery of liberal democracy the word, democracy and its workings, must be called into question. Let us not forget the present capitalist system only pays lip service to democracy and only then when it suits the ruling class and their governmental puppets. Remember 65% is a far larger majority and therefore mandate than those who masquerade as government in the Dail have ever received.

Finally those unions who operate this ridiculous one sided two thirds rule should seriously consider revising their rule books. A simple majority of 50.5% should be adequate to call strike action, though this it could be argued is too close to call so let us say 53%. This would give clear daylight between those in favour of strike action and those oppossed. This rule amendment should apply to all unions, ICTU affiliated or not and whether the employers and government like it or not.

Joe Hill

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