Referendum in Ireland: Irish Congress of Trade Unions decides not to take a stance on European fiscal treaty

Socialist MEP calls for unions to advocate ‘No’ vote on ‘austerity’ treaty

For the first time since Ireland joined the European Union, the Executive of ICTU, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, has not called for a ‘Yes’ vote on a European Treaty. At their meeting on 25 April the executive decided not to take a stance on the treaty, despite the fact that three Irish unions, Mandate, Unite, and the TEEU have come out against the treaty, as had the European Trade Union Confederation.

In past referenda, ICTU have been able to point to social aspects of treaties, for example in the Lisbon debates they could point to the aspirations contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights as a reason to support it. However, on this occasion there is no social aspect to the Austerity Treaty. This treaty is purely economic and seeks to enshrine in law austerity, the repayment of the debts of private banks and bondholders and to use these measures to further undermine democracy by giving key economic power making decisions to the unelected E.U. Commission and Council. That ICTU couldn’t support it signifies what a high price will be paid by workers and the unemployed in Ireland if this treaty is passed.eferenda

ICTU have abdicated their position of leadership by not calling for a ‘No’ vote. The rejection of this treaty will be a strike against the austerity agenda. ICTU could have taken a key leadership position in this campaign and used it as a basis upon which to launch a massive fightback against the failed austerity policies that are costing jobs in the economy and slashing living standards as a whole in Ireland and across Europe. A mass campaign of opposition is vital to defeat austerity, ICTU has the potential to be able to mobilise through protests and strikes hundreds of thousands of workers – yet they have failed to do so.

The Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) and the United Left Alliance will launch a massive campaign across the country to encourage people to reject this Austerit Treaty and to launch a wider fightback against the austerity agenda.

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