SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor has said that in the coming months his union will embark on a major campaign for pay increases of 5% across the economy. In a speech at Glasnevin Cemetery today (Saturday 31st January) to mark the commemoration of the death of Jim Larkin in 1947, the SIPTU president also said that the union would also engage in a “in a new battle to establish a minimum living wage of €11.45 an hour across all those sectors of the economy where the gross exploitation of vulnerable workers is the order of the day.”
He added that SIPTU members will also engage in “a national campaign to apply pressure on the Government to commence the task of abolishing the Universal Social Charge and replacing it with a new mechanism which will be equally efficient as a means of raising revenue from the better off while removing the burden on those on low to middle incomes.”
Welcoming the dramatic election victory of Syriza in Greece last weekend he said that it signalled the end of nightmare of the one-sided austerity experiment across Europe.
“The intellectual case for one-sided austerity is utterly redundant. It didn’t work in theory and now we know, at horrendous cost, that it doesn’t work in practice either. The experiment has been tried and failed spectacularly. That analysis is no longer restricted to those on the Left but is clearly evident across the mainstream of the political spectrum,” he said.
The SIPTU President called for a new ‘concordat’ between labour and capital which would replicate the great post war settlement that resulted in more than a generation of unprecedented and consistent economic growth, raising living standards in Western Europe to a greater degree than had ever been experienced before over a similar timeframe in recorded history.
In the approach to the centenary of the 1916 Rising, Jack O’Connor also called on Irish social democrats, left republicans and independent socialists to set aside sectarian divisions and to “develop a political project aimed at winning the next General Election on a common platform, let’s call it ‘Charter 2016’.” He said that it must set out what an alternative left of centre government “would be for as distinct to what we are against.”