Home > Ireland for Europe > Labour’s Joe Costello on Workers’ Rights and Lisbon

Labour’s Joe Costello on Workers’ Rights and Lisbon

Published on Ireland for Europe blog

It was great to hear Labour’s Joe Costello put Jimmy Kelly in his place on Morning Ireland today. Kelly was representing UNITE, the Irish branch Britain’s biggest union.

[wpaudio url=”http://blog.irelandforeurope.ie/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/MorningIreland010909.mp3″ text=”Morning Ireland, 1st Spetember.” dl=0]

That being said, the debate was pretty painful to listen to at times. Jimmy Kelly’s low blows and attempts to link Joe Costello with Fianna Fáil smacked of desperation. A particularly awkward moment for Kelly was when, after slating the Lisbon Treaty with vague generalisations, he was unable to name one specific way in which the Treaty would damage workers’ rights. It was clear that he had no grasp of the basic facts:

This debate raises some interesting issues. It’s very significant that UNITE, Britain’s largest trade union, is transplanting their euro-sceptic agenda onto Ireland’s political landscape. In fact, UNITE has been fundamentally opposed to the EU since its inception. They’ve also been steadfast in their stance against social partnership in Ireland. It’s alarming to see a trade union using Irish workers as pawns for a British Eurosceptic agenda.

Leading Irish trade unionists fully support Lisbon. ICTU have voted in favour of the Treaty. A group of trade union leaders have also established The Charter Group – which publicises the benefits workers will receive from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, an essential part of the Lisbon Treaty. These included Blair Horan of the CPSU, Des Geraghty of SIPTU, Peter McLoone of IMPACT, Steve Fitzpatrick of CWU, Clare Tracey of INO and Sen. Ivana Bacik.

We look forward to hearing some of these trade union activists getting on the airwaves in the next few weeks to fight for the Lisbon Treaty and for workers’ rights.

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