Question to: Patricia McKenna
Issue: Lisbon Treaty
Question sent by

I agree with everything in your reply to Paddy Keogh especially what you have to say about the exploitation of workers. We all know that we have entered an era where most of the work will be done by computerised machines and we need a completely new approach to work. The employers are obviously delighted with the status quo. The government are all at sea.
Perhaps you could put the skids under our trade unions.
Reply from
Patricia McKenna

Dear ,

Thank you for your question.

It now seems that it is down to wage competition between different regions of the EU and the departure of Dell to Poland is just one example. So are the numerous individuals from other member states who are being pushed to work for less than the minimum rate in service stations and shops around the country. Employers are very happy with this situation and also with the fact that inevitably general wage rates will follow-­ assisted in some instances by the latest series of judgments from the ECJ.

The trade union leadership has been enmeshed in a corporatist structure for the past two decades. They conceived of themselves as co-legislators and partnership wage rates were struck on the basis of ESRI/NESC reports.

Now, the government and employers are not interested and the terms of the last National Agreement have been forgotten about. In effect employers will have achieved a wage cut of between 6 and 16% depending on whether they are within the public or private sector.

Therefore, the first thing to do is to fight for the implementation of the terms of "Towards 2016" otherwise­ what point is there in being in a union if they don´t pursue the terms of an agreement that they negotiated and recommended. Then, new ways of working can be considered and if necessary agreed in the normal manner.

But you are correct when you state that unions need to waken up and very fast and begin to provide considered leadership to their members.