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The People’s Front of Judea versus The Judean People’s Front.

The People’s Front of Judea Versus The Judean People’s Front

Thursday 20th November, 2014.

It must be a nightmare on Trade Union Street at the moment.

In the red corner, fighting for the Right2Water campaign, are trade unions Mandate, Unite, the CPSU, Opatsi (that’ll be the plasterers union to you) along with various other parties and bodies including Spectacle Defiance (supported by IMPACT, SIPTU, UNITE and the Blind Boys of Alabama).

In the blue corner, fighting for Irish Water workers to keep their bonuses is SIPTU along with their sector organiser, Adrian Kane. Call us naïve at ISME but isn’t that what we would call a SIPTU conflict of interest?

SIPTU say they represent around a hundred of the 400 people directly employed workers in Irish Water and in a statement Kane has said that “SIPTU members in Irish Water will not accept any unilateral changes to their terms and conditions of employment.” This is union speak for ‘we’re keeping our bonuses’. But isn’t SIPTU against the bonuses?

It sounds like the Monty Python sketch, with the People’s Front of Judea then the Judean People’s Front. According to Citizen Kane, SIPTU workers in Irish Water earn what is termed a ‘modest’ €25,000 – €45,000. This latter end is well above the average industrial wage. And, of course, it’s omitted that this figure doesn’t include the bonuses, even though Irish Water hasn’t delivered anything (but grief to its political masters) yet. And their jobs are guaranteed.

Non-sequiturs are stock in trade for the seasoned debater – adding a layer to an argument that is distracting but at the same time, wholly irrelevant. Adrian Kane’s statement added, “The system in operation in Irish Water was a performance-based pay system and not unusual in the private sector.” Irish Water is not in the private sector. Irish Water is a public sector quango set up by a government that promised to cut the numbers of quangos. It is a monopoly. The water infrastructure is already in place. Metering, which now appears unnecessary, is being put in place at vast cost to the taxpayer. It’s another unholy public sector mess.

Mr. Kane added that ‘these workers have not had a pay increase since 2008 and a pay freeze remains in place until December 2015’. Reality check. Not alone has the SME sector not seen wage rises since the beginning of the recession but SMEs and their employees are the ones who paid the ultimate price.
They lost their businesses and their jobs because of the most incredibly inept management of our economy by a public sector that lacks self-awareness to a frightening level.

Psychologists call this state of mind, de-individuation that can lead to people feeling free to behave impulsively, without mind to potential consequences – in this case destroying our economy one more time?