Monday, October 07 14:07:25
If the Government exceeds the 5.15pc deficit target for Budget 2014, SIPTU will urge the Private Sector Committee of Congress to "spearhead a radical new drive for pay increases across the economy".
That's according to SIPTU General President, Jack O'Connor, in his Presidential Address at the SIPTU Biennial Delegate Conference today.
In his address Jack O'Connor will state that the only way the 3pc deficit target could be reached by 2015 is through growing the economy by 5.3pc over the period and that the only way this could be done was by boosting domestic demand which had fallen by 24pc since 2008, partially as a result of austerity budgets.
Mr O'Connor will make his address following the official opening by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisin Quinn, of the Biennial Delegate Conference at 6.30 p.m. today in the Round Room, Mansion House, Dublin. International Transport Federation Acting General Secretary, Steve Cotton, will also address the conference on its opening night.
He said, "If they insist on over egging the pudding to impress the financial markets there is another way to stimulate domestic demand and that is by substantially increasing pay.A rise in real earnings need not dramatically affect the country's export competitiveness, because already Ireland's real effective exchange rates (deflated by consumer prices) has fallen by 17pc relative to our trading partners since peaking in Spring 2008".
He also called on the Fine Gael Party "to lift their veto on a tax contribution from the rich so that the biggest element (of the adjustment) would be funded entirely by those who can most afford it" and that "the public tolerance for austerity has passed breaking point".
Jack O'Connor defended what he called the union's "rear-guard strategy" over the past five years saying, "It's like being accosted by a band of armed robbers on a remote country road on a dark, wet, winter's night, demanding your car on pain of your life. You can mix it with them in the hope of overcoming them or give them the car and suffer the misery of carrying on - on foot. You can get another car but you can't get your life back. No-one could reasonably accuse anyone of being unprincipled for making such a decision".
He continued, "Meanwhile we fight where we can win. Indeed we, in this Union, have sanctioned industrial action in almost 40 instances over the last two years. In this regard I want to make it absolutely clear that members who make democratic decisions by secret ballot vote to take action in defence of existing Agreements or to advance their interests will receive our absolute and fullest support".
He said the union had done everything it could to "to head off a single Party monopoly Fine Gael Government (or worse, one dependent on a handful of right wing independents). Sighting the direct quotes from the Fine Gael Party's Election Manifesto, he said that such a Government would have inflicted more than an additional E1.2 billion thus-far, would not have reinstated the legal mechanisms that protect the pay and conditions of over 200,000 workers and would be selling off all our State Enterprises, Airports, Ports and Harbours which are critical to the resurgence of the economy.