Three Socialist Party members top poll for NIPSA’s General Council
Northern Ireland largest trade union, NIPSA, has completed elections for its executive body, the General Council. In a significant turn around from last year’s results, the left activist group, NIPSA Broad Left, which includes Socialist Party members, scored a spectacular success in the election, increasing its seats on the 25-member executive from 4 to 12 (with three Socialist Party members topping the poll).
The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) represents over 45,000 members from across the civil and public services and the voluntary sector. The newly elected General Council assumes control in June.
Although the results leave the right wing in control, with a one seat majority, the outcome of the election is a clear signal that members want the union to change direction and to begin to seriously fight against cuts.
NIPSA has a significant membership base in Health, Local Government and the Civil Service in the North. It can have a considerable influence in mobilising public sector workers for action against cuts. Decisive control of the union executive by the right wing for the last year is one of the factors that allowed them to smother struggles by public sector workers over the last period. Now the left on the executive can expose the union right wing and build stronger support for resistance to the cuts.
A key issue for NIPSA is taking political action to complement industrial action. The left, including the Socialist Party, has been fighting for NIPSA to take political action, including supporting candidates to oppose the Northern Ireland Assembly Executive cuts. Last year’s NIPSA conference voted by a majority to move towards political action but the motion was lost due to the undemocratic requirement for 2/3 in favour for the motion to pass. In the recent elections for the executive, the Broad Left manifesto made the call to, “Put genuine anti-sectarian working class representatives in the Assembly to fight cuts”. The subsequent vote for Broad Left candidates reinforces the support for the argument for political representation.
This election is an important step in the right direction for the left in NIPSA – with a determined left programme the union can begin to become a vehicle for resistance to cuts.
Below is an example of a Broad Left election address for the recent NIPSA General Council elections, from Brian Booth, a Socialist Party member, which was circulated to 46,000 NIPSA members.
NIPSA BROAD LEFT
PREPARE FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION TO FIGHT CUTS
LINK UNION AND COMMUNITY ANTI CUTS CAMPAIGNS
PUT GENUINE ANTI SECTARIAN WORKING CLASS REPRESENTATIVES INTO THE ASSEMBLY TO FIGHT CUTS
As a member of the Socialist Party, I believe workers need a political alternative to right wing and sectarian parties in the Assembly. Unions must help to build a new party to give workers a voice to challenge politicians who don’t represent us
SUPPORT ALL BROAD LEFT CANDIDATES
BUILD A FIGHTING DEMOCRATIC UNION