December 2012        

A united union taking a stand


The Technical, Electrical and Engineering Union held its biennial delegate conference in November under the slogan “Export goods—not workers.” The TEEU, which organises workers in both the public and the private sector, is the largest craft union in the country.
      The conference began with a number of workshops before the formal business got under way. These covered such areas of concern as changes in the industrial relations structures and job creation.
      The conference was opened by the president of the union, Frank Keoghan, followed by the address of the general secretary, Éamon Devoy. “Ireland urgently needs to refocus on manufacturing, in both new and established industries,” Éamon Devoy said. “It has been estimated that up to 80,000 jobs could be created from retrofitting government buildings, local authority housing, schools, and other premises in public ownership. Ultimately this would be self-financing in terms of energy bills saved.”
      During the conference the delegates supported the demand for a 5 per cent pay increase, to be lodged with profitable enterprises in the private sector.
      The delegates also endorsed the demand for repudiation of the odious debt, beginning with the Anglo-Irish bank debt socialised by the previous Government.
      They also decided to contact other unions to see if a united union campaign could be built for opposing the handing over of the $3.1 billion to bond-holders on 31 March next.
      A number of other progressive resolutions were adopted, including resolutions relating to pensions, the development of sustainable energy, apprentices and apprenticeships, and opposition to privatisation.
      This is a united union, with a solid reputation for defending its members and taking a stand in defence of their interests as well as on issues that have an effect on the wider workers’ movement.
      The CPI was an invited guest at the conference and was warmly received both by officials and by delegates. The Labour Party and Sinn Féin were also invited to send representatives, but neither turned up.

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