Howlin criticises Varadkar dog-whistle on trade union recognition

Issued 22 May 2017

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has today called on Leo Varadkar to abandon his election pledge to outlaw industrial action by swathes of public sector workers.

“The notion of outlawing industrial action by a cohort of workers should be anathema to anyone with even the most basic understanding of how trade unions can contribute to a healthy and vibrant society.

“Over the last five years, public sector unions took actions that recognised the difficulties facing the state. Public sector workers were not our enemy, they were at the heart of getting our country back on track. Their sacrifices deserve recognition, not vilification.

“Last week, we saw the Minister for Finance declare that he would ignore a Labour motion on AIB and public investment that had been formally agreed by the Dáil. This week, we see the likely next Taoiseach take aim at the right of people to come together and decide democratically how to negotiate with their employers.

“I am proud of the work Labour did over recent years to legislate for collective bargaining rights. Anyone interested in building a stronger society should be looking to develop that work, not to undermine it as a dog-whistle to a right-wing base.”